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Advocates call for changes to U.S. deportation policies

The "Blue Ribbon Commission," an immigrant advocacy group made up of both documented and undocumented immigrants, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have both recently made recommendations to President Obama regarding U.S. immigration law. The Commission's recommendations are sweeping, calling on the federal government to reduce the nation's deportation rate as a whole, end immigration enforcement programs like "Secure Communities," reassign control over immigrant detention centers away from private security firms, and to reassess key trade agreements that encourage economic development at the cost of displacing immigrant communities. 


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also made key recommendations to the President and fellow lawmakers regarding "deferred action" for many immigrants currently facing deportation who would otherwise qualify for legal immigrant status under the Immigration Reform Bill currently being debated in the Senate. In addition, the Caucus, like the Commission, is calling for an end to "Secure Communities" and other enforcement programs. These programs make it easier for officials at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport immigrants who have been arrested or cited by local law enforcement agencies; essentially, the local authorities do the "legwork" of locating these immigrants, and then notify federal agents who then begin the detention and deportation process. 

Another key point shared by both the Commission and the Caucus is to improve conditions at many of the nation's jails and detention centers housing documented and undocumented immigrants. They cite as an example of mistreatment the facilities run by high-profile Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose unorthodox - and some may say inhumane - methods have made news around the nation. 

While the President has accepted the recommendations and met with the Caucus, he has given no indication whether he will accept the suggestions, and there is as of yet no timetable for when immigration reform might become a reality.

Source: Huffington Post, "Immigrants Release Ambitious Plan to Halt Deportation," April 10, 2014

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