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Why Immigrant Rights Advocates Cannot Endorse Hillary Clinton

Below is an e-mail written to the New York State Immigration Action Fund (NYSIAF) urging them to reconsider their endorsement of Hillary Clinton given that she has promised to deport children to death in Central America:

“I hope all is well. I write to you to express my outrage on reading reports that the New York State Immigration Action Fund (NYSIAF) will endorse Hillary Clinton for the upcoming primary on April 19.

As attorneys who represent over 300 Central American children with pending deportation cases in the New York Immigration Court and who have won relief for more than 200 children in the past two years, we believe it is unconscionable that NYSIAF is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Simply put, Mrs. Clinton’s has stated if she were to become President, she would deport children to harm in Central America. In contrast, her opponent Bernie Sanders recently requested that President Obama designate Honduras, EL Salvador, and Guatemala for Temporary Protected Status, which would ensure that no child is sent back to death or harm in Central America.

Mrs. Clinton has appeared to “evolve” on her hawkish statements to CNN in 2014

“We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,” she said. “So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”

Clinton said the main reason minors are coming is to escape violence in their home countries, predominantly Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Amanpour asked if that meant they should be able to remain in the United States, since it is safer.
“Well — it may be safer but that’s not the answer,” Clinton replied.

Yet as recently as February 12, 2016 in a nationally televised debate with Mr. Sanders “Hillary Clinton defended her past statements that Central American migrant children needed to be sent home from the border to “send a message” to other families: Don’t come.”

In a sharp about-face less than a month later, Mrs. Clinton appeared to have undergone a revolutionary change in policy when she said to Jorge Ramos “I will not deport children. I would not deport children,”…I do not want to deport family members either.”

However, Clinton’s statements are directly belied by her persistent (and current) refusal to promise temporary protected status for Central Americans fleeing the war zone of the Northern Triangle.

To wit: when pressed by NPR’s Julio Ricardo Varela on whether Mrs. Clinton agreed with Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders’ that Central Americans from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador should be granted Temporary Protected Status, she said, through a spokesperson, “NO.” Specifically,

She believes it is critical that everyone has a full and fair hearing, and that our country provides refuge to those that need it And we should be guided by a spirit of humanity and generosity as we approach these issues.

By clearly refusing to even consider TPS for Central Americans, Hillary Clinton’s position is unequivocal: she will deport children to death, rape, or serious harm in Central America.

NYSIAF should not endorse a Mrs. Clinton given that she has promised to deport children to death or harm in Central America, especially when her opponent Mr. Sanders has promised the categorically prevent the deportation of children to death or harm through the enactment of Temporary Protected Status. 

Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns.”


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