NATIONAL LATINO LEADERS WELCOME PRESIDENT'S ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION
Of the more than 58 million Hispanics living in the United States, 35% are foreign-born. Federal immigration law and policy continues to be a top priority for the Latino community. Our immigration, asylum, and naturalization policies must respect the dignity of the individual, end the criminalization of Hispanic immigrants, reflect our nation’s commitment to human and civil rights, and deny state and local encroachment into this federal arena. Immigration from Latin America has been on a decreasing trend in recent years. One notable exception is the case of Central American adults and children who have been fleeing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, seeking safe haven and opportunities for a dignified way of life. However, anti-Latino and anti-immigrant fervor has increased in the media, and among presidential candidates and Congress.
Over the last three years, Congress has considered bills that would challenge the President’s executive authority on deferred action, place enforcement of immigration laws in the hands of local police, criminalize those who would help immigrants, militarize the southern border, exploit immigrant workers, eliminate the due process rights of immigrants, and increase the number of Hispanics detained and deported. Rather than working to demonize and attack immigrants, Congress must work toward passing a fair and just comprehensive immigration reform bill that must ensure all people are treated with dignity and afforded the necessary protections under the law against discrimination and abuse. Administratively, the NHLA calls on the Obama Administration to reconsider its harsh positions in relation to Central Americans seeking safe haven, and to end family detention practices. We urge any subsequent administration to treat those seeking refuge consistent with human rights principles.