Monday, July 27, 2009

Sign ON!


We are writing to ask that your organization sign on to a letter urging President Obama to terminate the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) widely criticized 287(g) program, which relinquishes the authority to enforce civil federal immigration law to local law enforcement and corrections officials. Earlier this month, advocates, expecting a major overhaul of – or possibly an end to – this controversial program, were shocked to learn that DHS was expanding it to 11 new jurisdictions. While DHS claims to have standardized the agreements, close scrutiny has shown that these changes do nothing to prevent civil and human rights abuses, and in fact only further exacerbate the program's pervasive problems.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, AZ has been the most public example of the egregious human rights abuses that have resulted from the program. However, despite an ongoing civil rights investigation into the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office by the Department of Justice, DHS has not terminated its 287(g) agreement. Similarly, other law enforcement agencies around the country have aggressively targeted immigrants by using pretextual traffic stops or other racial profiling tactics.

Today marks the start of a five-day campaign aimed at gathering five hundred organizational signatures requesting that President Obama put an end to the 287(g) program.

Civil rights, criminal justice, community and immigrant rights organizations must stand in solidarity to send a clear message to the President:

The 287(g) program, which has contributed to the pervasive racial profiling our communities face day after day, must come to end.

Click here to co-sign this letter to President Obama.

In the coming days, individuals also will have the option to send a message directly to the President, but this week, the letter campaign is limited to organizations.

The deadline for signatures is 3pm EST, Friday, July 31, 2009.

Calling on such a large number of organizations to sign on in five days will require extraordinary collective effort, but the time is exactly right. When Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested in his own home earlier this week, President Obama in response publicly recognized the “long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately". Now is the time to join together to highlight for the President the urgent need to safeguard against civil rights and human rights abuses occurring under the 287(g) program.

Please distribute this link widely. If you have organizations that you can personally reach out to, please do.

In solidarity,

All of Us or None

Center for Constitutional Rights

Detention Watch Network

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Grassroots Leadership

Homies Unidos

Immigration Law Clinic, UC Davis School of Law

Justice Strategies

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

National Day Laborer Organizing Network

National Immigration Law Center

Partnership for Safety and Justice

Southern Center for Human Rights

Youth Justice Coalition

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