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Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Immigration
Type: Event

Family Defense Commission Comes to the Aid of Immigrant Detainees

Rosalie testifies for Family Defense Commission
Rosalie Quiroz testifies at a press conference on her struggle to free her husband.

In May, MRNY and community and faith leaders came together to call on the Obama Administration to live up to their promise to focus immigration enforcement energy and resources on immigrants who pose a threat to public safety. It has been a year since the Obama Administration directed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) to close deportation cases of immigrants who have never gotten into trouble in theUnited States. Since then, ICE has estimated that fully 7.5% of deportation cases nationally are eligible for closure after review. However, in New York City, of the approximately 20,000 cases that ICE has reviewed, only 1%, have been closed so far.

On May 7th, MRNY helped launch the New York Family Defense Commission with more than 30 faith leaders and allied organizations from across New York State. Representing a wide spectrum of beliefs and geography, the new Commission is working to elevate the voices of individuals and families whose lives have been needlessly torn apart by unfair, prolonged, and wasteful deportation proceedings.

The Commission has organized events to show the real world impact of ICE’s slow response to the Obama Administration’s directive in New York. At a recent press conference, MRNY member Rosalia Quiroz shared how she and her three children had been terrified when ICE invaded her home and arrested her husband Gustavo at 5 a.m. for an unsubstantiated deportation order. But that was only the beginning of the trauma she and her family would face in their struggle to free him. Even though Gustavo’s case was declared “low priority,” it was only after three weeks and with the tireless work of her church and advocates from MRNY that she was able to get Gustavo released from ICE detention. Rosalia and Gustavo’s story is just one of thousands of cases in need of an exercise of discretion.

MRNY is calling upon President Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and ICE to dramatically increase the numbers of eligible cases closed under Prosecutorial Discretion and to ensure that a maximum number of families are spared the trauma of deportation.

The New York Family Defense Commission is a partnership of Make the Road New York, Queens Congregations United for Action, Catholic Migration Services of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the New York Immigration Coalition, the New Sanctuary Coalition, MinKwon Center for Community Action, the Staten Island Clergy Leadership, and the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, as part of the national Fair Immigration Reform Movement.