Elvira Arellano, the internationally known human rights activist who has worked for the last six years with Central American migrants, issued a statement today on the so-called crisis of migrant children at the border. She was surrounded by a new mobilization of the extended families of those fighting deportations and those seeking to reunify their families after deportations. She made her statement in front of ICE headquarters in Chicago in the last and seventh week of “Promise Watch” demonstrations, designed to mark off the weeks in the President’s promise to take executive action if the Congress did not act on reform by July 4th.

moral monday elvira“The crisis at the border shows why the deportations must stop. It is the deportations that have caused this crisis, separating millions of families, leaving children in desperate situations. The primary motivation of the migration to the border is family reunification. To use the children as a reason to delay immigration reform, as some Republican members of Congress are doing, is both cruel and ridiculous since the lack of reform and the continuing deportations are the root cause of the crisis.”

 “I have worked for the last six years with Central American migrants, traveling on the trains with them, running from the gangsters – and the government – with them, searching for disappeared and kidnapped family members with them. They did not just wake up one morning and decide to come with their children thousands of miles to the U.S. They are part of families still living in the U.S. and they know that reunifying with these families is their best hope of survival. The millions of deportations have left families separated and strewn down across Mexico and Central America, struggling to survive the violence.

 “We must also begin now to establish the process for an orderly and safe reunification of families with U.S. citizen spouses and children who have been unjustly separated by a broken law: that is essential to any solution to the crisis.”

“We need also to stop the lies about “unaccompanied children.”. These children are in almost all cases accompanied by an adult, even a young adult, whose care they are in. As part of the process at the border, those children coming to the border must be treated humanely and they must not be separated and isolated from the adults whose care they are in.”

“Finally, much of the violence in all of these countries comes from a combination of the drug trade which prospers from the U.S. market, the deporting of gang members from the U.S. to Central America and the millions of dollars poured into Mexico for “security purposes”, turning Mexico and Central America into war zones. The response of the U.S. must be to support economic development and jobs in these countries not to further escalate the violence, not to fund the repression of families and children who are suffering because of U.S. policies.

“The Congress has proven that it will use any excuse to stop from acting on meaningful immigration reform. Last week it was “We don’t trust the President.” This week it is “the children on the border”. The Republican failure to act, however, does not excuse the Democrats who failed to act when they held super-majorities in the both the House and Senate. Nor does it excuse the policy of super enforcement which resulted in the deportations of two million people during Obama’s term in office – most of whom with no criminal record and with families still living in the United States.moral monday line up

“The time is up! President Obama MUST use his executive authority NOW to extend the deferments he gave the dreamers to their parents and the parents of U.S. citizen children and to provide an orderly, well defined process of emergency parole for those who have been unjustly deported and separated from U.S. citizen children or spouses.

“Until the President acts we must mobilize the entire Latino family of families. This is the fifteenth year in our struggle to fix the broken law. We need to make this summer a quincenera of struggle, mobilizing our extended families.”

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