Kathy O'Leary 0

Support immigration policies that keep families together and protect US Citizen Children

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Dear Member of Congress, The undersigned ask you to support immigration policies that keep families together. Since the passage of 1996 immigration laws, more than 1.5 millions immigrants have been deported. Every year, nearly 200,000 non-citizens – many with children who are United States citizens – are deported and torn away from their families even when a judge thinks they deserve to stay in the U.S. In New Jersey, it is estimated that Immigration and Custom Enforcement (I.C.E.) rents 750-800 beds from five county jails and 300-350 beds from the Corrections Corporation of America (C.C.A.), which runs and operates the Elizabeth Detention Center. The choices of families have been reduced to splitting up, resulting in more single-parent households and psychological and financial hardship, or forcing their U.S. citizen children into deportation with them. Family unification should be at the core of any immigration legislation. Recently, I.C.E. has dramatically increased immigration raids, detention and deportation of thousands of immigrants, separating more children from their parents, and spreading fear in the communities. I oppose the ongoing criminalization of immigrants and believe that everyone regardless of immigration status should have the same basic human rights. Although the best approach to solve immigration problem today is to pass an immigration law that creates a path for immigrants to access permanent residence, I am asking you to sign on to the Child Citizen Protection Act (H.R. 182), introduced by N.Y. Congressman Jose Serrano. This bill would restore justice to our immigration system by allowing U.S. citizen children to be heard before a parent is taken away. H.R. 182 would repeal the harshest provisions of the 1996 laws and allow immigration judges to consider whether deportation is "clearly against the best interest of a U.S. citizen child." It preserves the basic notion of fairness that defines the U.S. justice system. It also allows judges to judge, and families to have a day in court. Finally, please lend your support to legislation similar to last year’s “Protect Citizens and Residents from Unlawful Raids and Detention Act” (S. 3594) introduced by Senator Robert Menendez. This bill would establish minimum standards of treatment for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and immigrants who are impacted by immigration operations, and create better protection for vulnerable populations, including families, pregnant and nursing women, and asylum seekers.


Interfaith Coalition for The Rights of Immigration Detainees and their Families, Pax Christi NJ


Full text of the bill http://www.familiesforfreedom.org/files/HR182.pdf Fact Sheet on H.R. 182 http://www.familiesforfreedom.org/files/CCPAfactsheet182.doc Stories of families dealing with the threat of or the deportation of a parent http://www.familiesforfreedom.org/httpdocs/out_families.html Washington Post Article "Senseless Deportations" http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032301590.html
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