WASHINGTON, DC- The United We Dream Network (UWD), a nationwide alliance of undocumented youth, witnessed their former board chairman, Matias Ramos, shackled with an electronic monitoring device and ordered out of the country in 14 days. This happened without any provocation whatsoever and is an outrage.
On a press teleconference today, UWD called on the President to immediately mandate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and other immigration agencies follow his Administration’s new policy, announced in June, 2011, to cease deporting “low priority” cases and offer these immigrants an affirmative process to apply for work permits to support ourselves and fully contribute to our country.
After deporting a record million plus immigrants and inflicting unspeakable pain on our families, the President effectively offered hope and relief to entire categories of immigrants outlined in his memo on an individual basis. The immigrant youth of UWD demand that the President put some teeth into his memo and follow through on his promise of categorical relief and an opportunity to earn a living. UWD and the Center for Community Change also issued a call to the immigrant community to monitor and report agents who fail to enforce this new policy through a new toll-free hotline. The Obama Administration and its agents must and will be held accountable.
“Implementation of the Morton Memo so far gets an F for the Obama Administration from the immigrant communities that are affected by it. Being forced to wear an ankle bracelet handled by a private profiteer was a shameful attack on my human rights,” said Ramos, “This should have never happened, and we are ready to continue our push for real and categorical relief for all people who want their dream.”
Gerardo Noriega is also DREAM Act- eligible and lives in Colorado. He faces deportation after being stopped for a broken license plate light. “It’s not really living, it’s more of just surviving,” Noriega said. “It’s about trying to stay positive and continue trying to go on, look ahead, look forward to something better.”
Battling deportations is not new for UWD; the network has been fighting to end the deportation of DREAMers across the country for months through the Education Not Deportation (END) Project. UWD organizes around the cases of DREAM Act-eligible youth facing imminent deportation creating a state of urgency that brings communities together to stop deportations. “We have built an underground railroad for immigrant youth and we will do more. We have also built an above ground megaphone to make sure that the immigrant community, including tens of millions of voters, know the record and act accordingly” said Gaby Pacheco, END Project National Coordinator.
“The Obama Administration is promising prosecutorial discretion for low priority cases, but this is clearly not being enforced in the field,” stated Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of CAUSA-Oregon, and a Fair Immigration Reform Movement member.
Gerardo, Matias, and immigrant youth across the country vowed to not let their stories end with them.