International Worker Center Network Calls for Legalization of All Immigrants and Freedom for All Incarcerated Immigrants
Enlace lauds President Obama’s executive action for its positive impact on 5 million undocumented immigrants, however 7 million immigrants face increased threats of incarceration, detention, and deportation under Obama’s plan. The Department of Homeland Security’s new Priority Enforcement Program furthers the deportation pipeline, the criminalization of immigrants, and the militarization of the border. Obama’s executive action was announced in the same week that Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the complete outsourcing of family detention camps for mothers and children to for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corp of America and GEO Group.
The US is the global prison leader with over 2.3 million humans in cages, disproportionately impacting people of color and immigrants. A detention bed mandate ensures 34,000 immigrants are detained each night, and immigrants comprise 25% of the federal prison population. Obama’s decision to prioritize border enforcement and ICE’s announcement assure the growth of the for-profit prison industrial complex by expanding their business to include the incarceration of families. The plan to completely privatize all family prison camps demonstrates the close relationship between Washington D.C. and the for-profit prison industry. Obama’s support of policies like the Trans-Pacific Partnership demonstrate the rise of corporate power against the working class. “Obama’s announcement temporarily halts the deportation of some individuals, but does not provide any relief for single low-income workers, families at the border, and the most vulnerable members of the immigrant community—these people are still destined for imprisonment in private prisons and detention centers,” said Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, co-director of Enlace.
Despite administrative relief for select immigrants, Obama remains committed to continue criminalizing and incarcerating immigrant communities. As a binational worker center in the US and Mexico, Enlace will continue building an international movement towards the self-determination of immigrants and communities of color. We call for Obama and all politicians to immediately cut ties and defund the for-profit prison industry. We are calling on all public and private institutions to divest from prisons and invest in community values. Enlace demands the release of all incarcerated immigrants, demilitarization of the border, and legalization for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. We celebrate this victory but remain committed to ending immigration enforcement and abolishing prisons.