While celebrating, the ACLU remains committed to expanding relief to all immigrants, preventing further militarization of border
LOS ANGELES – Tonight, the ACLU of California celebrates President Barack Obama's momentous move to keep millions of hard-working families together by expanding administrative relief from deportation for four million undocumented immigrants, including an estimated 1.5-1.6 million in California.
For far too long, over 2.5 million Californians have been forced to live in the shadows, trapped by our country's broken and inhumane immigration system. "Today's announcement is a significant step in the right direction and away from the criminalization of immigrant communities," stated Abdi Soltani, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. “But more importantly, today is a real victory for immigrant families who live, work and make significant contributions to our communities. Today we celebrate them."
While we commend this significant advance towards affirming aspiring Americans their civil liberties, we recognize that this is just the beginning of a fight in addressing our broken immigration system. "Though the president has taken an important first step to provide certain undocumented immigrants protection from deportation, that protection is fleeting and tenuous," said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. "It will depend on President Obama's successor and the continued exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Real and lasting immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, can come only from Congress."
The ACLU of California will continue to advocate for fuller recognition of all immigrants' rights, including for those who do not benefit from today's announcement. We applaud the president's actions to address this decades-long problem, and call on both houses of Congress to stop putting up roadblocks and find a permanent solution that offers a pathway to citizenship for hard-working immigrants.
The ACLU of California will remain vigilant about any deployment by the administration of additional resources to the border to strengthen enforcement. Our border communities are among the safest in the nation. Border security benchmarks have long ago been met and exceeded.
"We will continue to push back against the over-militarization of our border communities, recognizing that border spending should be tied to the nation's real national security needs and to facilitating bilateral and multilateral trade and tourism," said Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.
The ACLU of California will continue to seek greater transparency and accountability of our immigration enforcement agencies to ensure that border communities can thrive without the threat of heavy-handed enforcement that tramples everyone's basic civil rights and liberties.
The ACLU of California also will continue to work to ensure that immigrants receive protections guaranteed under the Constitution, including the right to be treated fairly in court and to be free from discrimination based on race or national origin. The ACLU of California comprises the three California ACLU affiliates—the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.
For media inquires contact:
Daisy Vieyra, ACLU of Northern California, 415-293-6391
Anna Castro, ACLU of San Diego, 619-206-6940
Marcus Benigno, ACLU of Southern California, 213-977-5252