There are many passionate immigration activists located throughout the nation and around the world. These activists will write letters, support politicians, raise money and join protests. One such protest was scheduled for President's Day and it was located right outside the White House.
The protesters prayed and sang during the protest in hopes of convincing President Obama to stop deportations. Unfortunately, about 30 out of the total 50 protesters were arrested for participating in “civil disobedience.” They were asked to leave, but refused until officers were forced to arrest them.
Generally, “civil disobedience” is described as the active and unambiguous refusal of certain laws or demands made by the government. It is usually considered to be a form of nonviolent resistance.
This President's Day protest was put together by the United Methodist Church and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Currently, there are reports circulating that there have been nearly 2 million deportations in the Obama Administration's five years in office. Meanwhile, there were a total of 2 million deportations during the eight years that President George W. Bush was at the White House. This is a cause for concern for many immigration reform advocates.
Along with the protest happening at the White House, there were hunger strikes both here in Arizona, and in Pennsylvania. These strikes involved undocumented immigrants who have family members who are currently in detention centers and are faced with deportation. The Arizona strike began on President's Day and the participating individuals plan to continue going without food for the next two weeks.
One argument advanced by the protesters was that President Obama should stop deportations by utilizing his executive authority. They suggest that he should broaden the DACA (Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals) program to include other undocumented immigrants.
Deferred action was implemented in June 2012 and allows for certain immigrants to remain in the U.S. and obtain employment authorization. Deferred action permits foreign nationals, who came to the U.S. unlawfully as children, to apply for relief.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have already raised this issue with President Obama. Lawmakers have suggested expanding DACA to family members and working immigrants. However, the president has responded by saying that he cannot implement such a broad plan on his own. He recently stated that there are “genuine limits to what we can do” without approval from Congress.
There is no doubt, however, that President Obama is a supporter of immigration reform. He has been encouraging House Republicans to approve the current immigration reform bill since it was passed by the Senate.
Before the President's Day protest at the White House, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network filed a petition with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asking it to expand the DACA “program to the fullest extent permissible by law” and to stop removal proceedings of those who would likely benefit from the potential immigration reform law.
If you have questions about DACA or have been arrested for violating immigration law, contact my office. My associates and I have many years of experience in various immigration matters and would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.