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CHC Chair Urges DHS Secretary to Stop Tearing Apart Immigrant Families

Apr 13, 2017
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, urging him to exercise his discretion and immediately take steps to stop ICE agents from targeting and deporting immigrant mothers and fathers like Maribel Trujillo Diaz.
 
As Rep. Lujan Grisham writes in the email, “ICE has limited resources to conduct their enforcement efforts, and based on data we have seen and cases we continue to receive from our communities, we know that ICE is not exclusively targeting hardened criminals as the Administration would like us to believe. Instead, ICE continues to target non-criminal, hardworking immigrants with U.S. citizen family members that are working to support their families and communities.  These individuals should not be a priority for removal.”
 
COPY OF LETTER
 
April 12, 2017
 
The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
 
 
Dear Secretary Kelly,
 
I write to you regarding an urgent situation involving an immigrant mother of four U.S. citizen children living in Ohio that was recently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It has come to my attention that ICE plans to deport this mother despite the fact that she has no criminal record and has U.S. citizen children with disabilities that rely on her for care.
 
When the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)met with you just a few weeks ago, we urged you to exercise discretion as you enforced the Administration’s broadened immigration priorities. We reiterated that separating children and parents is not in the best interest of our country, it causes irreparable harm, stress and confusion for children and families, and goes against our American values. Despite hearing our serious concerns in that meeting, it is clear that ICE agents continue to target immigrant mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens.
 
ICE has limited resources to conduct their enforcement efforts, and based on data we have seen and cases we continue to receive from our communities, we know that ICE is not exclusively targeting hardened criminals as the Administration would like us to believe. Instead, ICE continues to target non-criminal, hardworking immigrants with U.S. citizen family members that are working to support their families and communities.  These individuals should not be a priority for removal.
 
As DHS Secretary, I urge you to exercise your authority and discretion and immediately take steps to stop ICE agents from targeting and deporting mothers with U.S. citizen children. It is sad to see ICE use resources and personnel to go after hardworking, immigrant mothers and fathers with no criminal record instead of focusing all of its efforts, resources and manpower on detaining and removing dangerous criminals.
 
Since Ms. Trujillo was detained, we have seen overwhelming support from her community. Neighbors, church members and elected officials have called on ICE to release her so she can return to support and care for her family. I urge you to exercise your prosecutorial discretion, review Ms. Trujillo’s case and allow her to remain in the country with her children.
 
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
 
 
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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
 
Media Contact:
Carlos Paz Jr.
202-897-7718