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AILA to Dream9: We Don’t Care If You Are Detained & Deported

With their courage, the Dream9 have challenged the establishment. The unwillingness of groups such as AILA to support the simple proposition of granting humanitarian parole to 9 young immigrants who want justice for the millions who have been detained and deported is evidence thereof.

When a leader of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance requested AILA’s support for the Dream9, AILA’s Executive Director, Crystal Williams, responded as follows:

I’m sorry, but, no, our leadership has decided not to sign onto the letter. As an association of attorneys, we are in the position of needing to be careful not to even appear to be advising in favor of acts that will do irreversible damage to an individual’s rights. By signing onto this, we would be signaling to the community that there is legal remedy for when someone undocumented leaves the country and attempts to return when, in the vast, vast majority of cases, there is no remedy. The prosecutorial discretion that has saved so many who have bravely outed themselves within the U.S. does not apply once they are outside the country. Thus, we cannot sign something that even tacitly suggests that such a remedy exists, lest it encourage others to follow suit. Our professional responsibility dictates that this is not something we can be a part of.”

The “professional responsibility” excuse does not hold water. One can disagree with the tactics of the Dream9 while concurrently advocating for their release from detention on humanitarian parole, similar to what Congressman Gutierrez did.

Unity is required in order to effectively advocate for the human rights of immigrants.  As such, we call on AILA to provide unity by issuing a formal written statement advocating for the immediate release of the Dream9 from detention on humanitarian parole.

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