NYT Editorial Lifts Up Southern 32 As Test Case to Define Obama Immigration Policy
New Orleans, LA – A New York Times editorial highlighted the Southern 32, a group of immigrants in the South facing deportation because they stood up against abuse. The editorial presents this group as a test case for the Obama Administration, who last year announced a policy that would focus deportations on individuals who pose a threat to public safety and protect those with strong ties to the country and those who’ve spoken out against civil rights abuses and exploitation in the workplace.
The editorial states:
Immigration advocates in the South are trying to stop the deportation of dozens of people who spoke out against abuses like dangerous working conditions, unlawful arrests, unpaid wages, racial profiling and retaliation against those trying to organize. Instead of protecting them, the administration is trying to expel them. The fate of these immigrants, known as the Southern 32, will test whether the discretion policy is worth the paper it’s written on.
Thus far, the Southern ICE office has not only failed to protect these individuals, but they have actively pursued their deportation. Janet Napolitano and others in the Obama Administration have remained silent. That’s why the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justicelaunched the Stand Up 2012: Make Justice Real campaign, to fight for the rights of the Southern 32 and demand that the Obama Administration actually implement this new policy.
On June 12th, Jose Luis Gomez Castor has a court date in New Orleans to see whether his case will be closed or whether the Obama Administration will continue to pursue his deportation. Jose was arrested by ICE agents posing as contractors at an organized day labor corner. But, Jose knows his rights — he’s been training other workers since Hurricane Katrina — so he used his workers’ center identification card to defend his right to remain silent and speak with his attorney. But ICE discarded his ID, ignored his rights and arrested him anyway. Jose has a pending complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and he falls squarely within the guidelines of those pursuing legitimate civil rights complaints. His hearing will be the next test of whether ICE intends to make the policy real, or whether it will just remain words on a page.
The New York Times concludes:
President Obama is nowhere close to fulfilling his pledge to win legalization for 11 million immigrants who are languishing in this society without hope of fully joining it. As Congress continues to do nothing, it becomes more urgent that Mr. Obama act to protect those who could be well on their way to becoming lawful Americans but for the broken system.