Reflection from Border Network for Human Rights on President Obama’s Strategy for Administrative Action on Immigration and Border Enforcement
El Paso, TX /Southern New Mexico- Border communities have long advocated for a balanced and humane approach to border enforcement, and the President’s decision to reallocate more enforcement resources to the border without commensurate mechanisms to ensure oversight, accountability and respect for civil and human rights is ill-advised.
The President’s push to detain and deport children is not good policy, especially because these families are desperately fleeing violence in their Central American homes.
The already postponed executive action has only allowed space and time for an “enforcement only” political agenda to confuse the American public about the evolving humanitarian needs at the border. We already have a system that is apprehending, arresting and deporting children and families at the border at a very high rate.
The President’s announcement yesterday gives his administration a deadline until the end of summer to formulate a response to the immigration reform needs that our nation has. We have doubts that this political threat to House Republican leadership will yield substantive progress legislatively. The responsibility is and has been at the hands of the President for some time. President Obama can take action today to deliver on his campaign promise and not leave his name in the legacy of his presidency as “Deporter in Chief”. What we need is a border enforcement accountability surge, not a military-style enforcement surge.
We urge the President and his administration at Department of Homeland Security to take advantage of his legal powers and executive authority to provide 1) protections from deportation for immigrant families and workers already living and working in the US, and 2) provide for more oversight and accountability for the border enforcement system.
Given the currently evolving situation on the border, BNHR is asking that:
- All those seeking asylum be treated with the same dignity and respect;
- Any policy that detains and deports children is not a good policy and, instead, we should have a mechanism in place that keeps families together, especially when they are fleeing violence at home;
- America’s moral standing in the world is at stake due to our treatment of immigrant children and families. Every American has an opportunity to provide moral support and the American government must respect due process rights and provide legal support as they go through the immigration process;
- A humanitarian response and the best interest of the children and families must be the reference at every point in the process when law enforcement encounters these families;
- Instead of a quantitative approach to border enforcement, we must examine and implement a quality enforcement system that respects the dignity and rights of every immigrant.
SAVE THE DATE: On July 10 BNHR will convene an event to show border resident’s frustration with Obama’s intention to deport children and further militarize our border. Details of this event will be available soon!