Alternatives to Deportation

Congressman Luis Gutierrez in Oakland, CA. Photo: PICO.

For millions of undocumented families, staying together may be possible, after all. There are alternatives to deportation other than immigration reform, a legal way to stop separating families and harming the lives of human beings while Congress decides on immigration. All in the hands of President Obama.

At a packed meeting in Oakland’s Fruitvale District in the evening of Thursday, April 29, about 12,000 people listened attentively to Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who was on a nationwide campaign to mobilize immigrant communities and push the Obama Administration to take action.

The meeting was organized by Oakland Community Organizations, OCO in collaboration with PICO and BOCA all of them considered  powerful local action groups. Administrative relief, or alternatives to deportation are legal actions the President can take so that certain people can stay in the US instead of being sent back to their countries, Gutierrez briefly explained to the cheering crowd. These actions would not apply to people with a criminal backgrounds.

Gutierrez mentioned a memo of understanding sent to President Obama by a top immigration executive conveying a list of alternative actions that could be taken instead of deportation. These alternative actions would ensure that families are not separated, and that the lives of millions of children and youth are not severely affected.

Gutierrez also mentioned that Congresswomen Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, have asked Obama to utilize the discretionary power of the President to provide Dream Act qualifying students a way to stay in this country while immigration reform is debated, and an agreement has been reached.

The question is: Why hasn’t the President already opted for these apparently reasonable and legal solutions to illegal immigration?