President Obama and Secretary Johnson,
Happy Father’s Day! Like you, we are fathers too. Like you, our faith is of fundamental importance, and guides our values. However, on this special day for dads we write to you with heavy hearts for immigrant fathers whose families are being unjustly torn apart by our broken immigration system.
Each of us will likely have the opportunity to embrace our children on Father’s Day, to play with our children, or celebrate with them over a meal. In contrast immigrant fathers and their children who are marginalized by our country’s immoral deportation and immigration detention systems will face yet another day of fear, loneliness, and hopelessness.
President Obama, despite the announcement of your executive actions in November 2014 that promised changes to deportation policies, your Administration is still deporting family members, including dads.
In March 2015, Max Villatoro, a church pastor and father of four U.S. citizen children, was deported. Max will not be with his children on Father’s Day.
Many Uch is a father who entered the U.S. as a refugee from Cambodia in 1984. He ended up in automatic deportation proceedings with no judicial review because Congress passed unjust laws in 1996 that applied retroactively to him. Many lives in fear that he will be taken away from his wife and daughters every day, including this Father’s Day.
Jose Juan Federico Moreno, a long term resident of Chicago, dedicated husband and father of five U.S. born children, is living in sanctuary inside University Church because requests for prosecutorial discretion of his DUI charge continue to be denied. His charge was listed as “aggravated” just because he was not allowed by law to have access to a driver’s license. Jose Juan does not have the freedom to celebrate freely with his children on Father’s Day.
In light of the realities faced by these dads and thousands of others, we ask you take the following actions:
- The White House must ensure that local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices are implementing the administration’s stated policies of prosecutorial discretion. It’s clear from these stories of dads and thousands more that ICE is repeatedly violating the prosecutorial discretion policies announced in November 2014.
- The Department of Homeland Security must train, monitor, and hold local ICE offices accountable to utilizing prosecutorial discretion whenever possible to stop deporting dads and tearing apart families.
- The fact that dads are parents and active members of their communities must be weighed against any past mistakes they have made. Our faiths teach us that we are called to forgive and our communities are to be places of redemption and wholeness.
President Obama and Secretary Johnson, I am sure we can agree that our children are our greatest asset. The children of deported and detained fathers need to be with their dads. We implore you to do everything in your power in the coming weeks and months to make this possible.
Undersigned Dads & Supporters Who are Not Fathers