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Petition Pres. Obama: Stop Deporting Central American Families!

Add your name to Open Letter to Pres. Obama -- Stop Deporting Central American Families

The Obama administration has begun rounding up Central American families for immediate deportation.  This is an outrage.   The immigrant rights community is mobilizing in protest.  To add your name to an Open Letter to President Obama expressing your disapproval,  go to  http://www.uumassaction.org/an-open-letter-to-president-obama.

There will be a vigil at the State House this Wed., Jan. 6 at 6pm on the State House steps, organized by Centro Presente.  Come if you can. Standing in  solidarity with the immigrant community is even more  important at this deeply upsetting moment.

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Stop Deporting Central American Families

Recent news reports revealed that the Department of Homeland Security plans to hunt down Central American mothers and children who have fled to this country for their lives.  “The adults and children would be detained wherever they can be found and immediately deported."  (Washington Post, 12/23/15)

We, the undersigned -- members of faith communities, medical and legal professionals,  concerned Massachusetts residents -- are profoundly troubled by this move against vulnerable refugee families. While the planned operation is said to target only adults and children who have been ordered removed by an immigration judge, the court system that generates these orders is seriously broken.

The vast majority of Central American refugees have no access to a lawyer, nor information about what they are required to present. Unaware of court dates, without legal counsel and adequate interpretation, they are unable to prepare  adequate asylum cases. "POLITICO" reported on 11/18/2015 that thousands of children less than 16 years old were ordered deported without access to legal counsel  and DHS is being sued in federal court for denying due process to these refugees.  

The Department of Homeland Security’s intention to track down these women and children and return them to the killing grounds they fled recalls very dark moments in  human history.  Since 2014, researchers have documented 83 deaths of Central American deportees returned to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala  (Guardian, 10/12/2015).  Our government has a moral responsibility to protect, not harm, these refugees.

Our major religious traditions – Christian, Jewish and Moslem – all assert the moral imperative to protect those fleeing violence and abuse.  As Rev. Adan Mairena of West Kensington Ministry, Philadelphia, PA, a church offering sanctuary, declared,  "Our elected officials cannot say ‘God bless America’ and at the same time deport, exclude, dehumanize, and criminalize those who come seeking refuge, in this case God's children from Central America.”  We affirm the principle to honor the dignity and life of every person.

Our moral responsibility to protect refugees has been enshrined in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention states that “No Contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

We respectfully urge President Obama to order the Department of Homeland Security to cancel plans for these raids immediately. We respectfully request Attorney General Lynch to ensure due legal process for Central Americans fleeing violence. And we respectfully ask  Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, to ensure that families are protected and children are not further harmed after their perilous voyages to this country.

 Cc: Governor Baker, Senator Warren, Senator Markey
   

To sign, go to http://www.uumassaction.org/an-open-letter-to-president-obama 

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