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Activists head to White House to stop deportations

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Students, children and families are preparing to join Congressman Luis Gutierrez and delegations from throughout the nation in Washington, D.C.

On July 26 they will make a final appeal to the White House to stop the deportations and separations of families. They want to urge President Barack Obama to use his discretionary power to stop the deportation of the parents of U.S. citizen children who have no criminal convictions.

The group is preparing for a face-off at the White House on deportations and separation of families. "We want the president to use the power that the Latino community gave him in the vote to use his executive authority to stop the deportation and separation of families," said activist Walter Coleman.

The group says they recognize the current political deadlock in Congress means no meaningful immigration reform can be passed. They say the president has broken his promise to them and they do not understand the president's discretionary choice to deport 400,000 people a year.

"We're preparing to go to Washington to send a clear message to President Obama that he does not have the Latino vote until he keeps his promise, " said Emma Lozano of Lincoln United Methodist Church. "He should do what's right. Otherwise we won't vote for him."

"The government is deporting on average 1,100 people a day. These are unprecedented numbers: 400,000 the last year," said immigration attorney Royal Berg. "The law provides that these people may be deported, but the president has a discretion to stop it."

The group believes that Hispanics have been targeted by immigration authorities.

"I think the easiest targets to go after are people that appear to be Hispanic," Berg said, "and that's what we're seeing in these secure community efforts."

Mirian Perez was in the U.S. illegally and was deported to Mexico and separated from her family. She is now back in the country legally.

"I couldn't see my kid for a year," said Perez. U.S. citizen Katie Sosa says her husband, who was in the U.S. illegally, went back to Mexico on his own to re-enter legally and is now being held there and told he cannot come back to the states for 10 years.

"We wanted to do things the right way and we got punished," Sosa said.

The activists say they will not help to re-elect President Obama if he does not fulfill his campaign promises to them.

The group will be traveling with Armando Gutierrez and his children to Washington. Gutierrez faces deportation and has no criminal record.

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