In Missouri, on November 24, a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown. In Ferguson and cities across the country, the decision has provoked deep-seated anger and sparked protests in the streets over years of police brutality and abuse against African Americans. More than simply about the killing of Michael Brown, the rage and protests are born from the police violence, the racial discrimination, and the failure of the legal system to offer justice and relief that African Americans and communities of color have confronted for decades in the United States.
While we recognize the specific frustrations of the African American community in Ferguson, the fatal shooting of Michael Brown is part of a broader trend of police brutality and institutionalized racism that affects people of color across the country. Alongside African Americans, Latino communities face racial profiling, police violence and abuse, and disproportionately high rates of incarceration. Although President Obama’s recent executive order offered a measure of relief to a number of Latino immigrants, many members of our community still face forms of state-inflicted violence and mistreatment: raids by immigration agents, detentions, and deportations.
Our community’s struggle for social justice and human integrity transcends the boundaries of race. We are united with African Americans in the fight against police violence and mass incarceration. By demanding for protections against racial profiling, measures that ensure equal justice, and policies that promote economic opportunities, our campaigns for racial justice and human dignity have the potential to benefit all communities of color.
Civil disobedience and protests are the tools of the oppressed, especially when the traditional mechanisms of democracy fail, as the events in Ferguson remind us. We must continue to organize and engage in acts of civil disobedience and protests in order to achieve racial equality and justice.
On November 21, GLAHR activists, many ineligible for deportation relief under the President’s executive actions, orchestrated a protest in front of Atlanta’s Detention Center, located downtown on Spring Street. Demonstrators used drums and bullhorns, and carried signs reading “Thanks to those who fight.”
On November 21, President Barack Obama announced executive actions providing deportation relief and three-year work permits to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least 5 years and have U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children. While GLAHR community members welcome the announcement, the majority of members find themselves ineligible for relief and will continue to campaign for relief for the entire community. GLAHR issued the following press release in response to the President’s announcement.
Executive Action Announcement Responds to Grassroots Pressure, Fight for The Excluded Continues
The Obama administration has issued an executive order that will provide administrative relief to many immigrants in the United States. This new policy is an important victory for our community’s undocumented immigrants and their families who have demanded that President Obama halt unjust deportations, end programs that criminalize immigrants, and expand the deferred action program created for immigrant youths in 2012. By collectively raising our voices against inhumane immigration practices, our community has shown the power of mobilizing to demand for the right to live, work, and support our loved ones without fear of deportation.
Our community has waited long enough for administrative relief, and we urge the Obama administration to implement this decision without any further delay.
While President Obama’s executive order is a significant victory, our struggle for a humane, long-term solution to this country’s broken immigration system will continue. We will continue to demand for an end to local law enforcement’s involvement in federal deportation efforts. And we will continue to fight for all of our community members who will not receive relief from the president’s executive order.
These excluded members include many LGBTQ immigrants, childless immigrants, recently arrived immigrants, and immigrants who have had brief brushes with the criminal justice system. We will continue our struggle until our entire community achieves full recognition and equality.
On Friday, November 21 at 12 pm, we will gather at the Atlanta Detention Center, and at 6 pm our community will organize at Plaza Fiesta, not only to celebrate the President’s announcement, but also to continue to advocate for all of our community members who continue to be excluded.
Members of the Georgia #Not1More coalition today announced the latest victory in their efforts to end unconstitutional detention per ICE detainer requests in Georgia. DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey L. Mann has announced that, effective immediately, he will end submission to federal detainer requests, a centerpiece of the failed Secure Communities deportation quota program, without a warrant or other sufficient probable cause.