The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Wednesday, November 16, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
You have heard a lot about the Cardenas family in Denver this past year. Through Raul Cardenas, you witnessed just one example of what ‘undocumented’ looks like. Working with the Cardenas family and the Immigration Justice Task Force and leadership at First Universalist Church of Denver, the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign was able to lift up Raul and Judy’s struggle to keep their family intact, and prevent a father from being torn from his home, wife, and children.
Thousands of you signed petitions and made phone calls to help prevent Raul’s deportation. A robust community of clergy and congregants stood side-by-side with the family at Raul’s April deportation hearing. That day, a judge offered “half good news,” as Judy called it, with a continuance of Raul’s case until November. This week, Raul again had his day in court.
I am thrilled to report some wonderful news. Judy and Raul have informed us that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have agreed to a motion to administratively close Raul’s deportation. According to Raul and Judy’s attorney, this is a battle won. Raul’s case will be indefinitely removed from the docket and not prosecuted.
“This a victory for our many letters and requests for ‘prosecutorial discretion,’” Judy said. “We are, indeed, a blessed community and fortunate to be connected with loving support.”
Today the Cardenas family will rest easy with the knowledge that they can remain together, surrounded by the love and support of a community that extends from Maine to California, and Washington to Florida. This community includes people like you, who cared enough to learn about this family and advocate for keeping them together.
Unfortunately, Raul and Judy’s problems are not over. Raul is not eligible for any change of legal status or work permit without a change in the law, or further administrative action.
However, the tide is turning with your help: In August Obama announced an initiative with Sec. Napolitano of Department of Homeland Security (and the Department of Justice) to focus immigration enforcement on people with criminal records. This renewed push for common sense “prosecutorial discretion” is designed to review and clear out “low-priority cases” like Raul’s from 300,000 backlogged deportation proceedings.
Until a humane, comprehensive immigration reform bill is passed we can’t stop. Prosecutorial discretion can help many individuals, however it is only a temporary solution. We must remember that the Obama Administration has deported an all-time record 1 million immigrants since 2009, and that thousands of U.S. citizen children have been taken from their parents and placed in foster care as a result of U.S. deportations.*
Make no mistake: those of us seeking justice for immigrants and their families are making progress — one family at a time, one defeated anti-immigrant law at a time. With each email to our senators, letter to the editor of our newspapers, and commitment to stay educated, speak out, and remain engaged in the struggle for a more just society, we move forward.
On behalf of Judy and Raul and their children, I thank you for your help in keeping this family together, and for standing on the side of love.
Standing on the Side of Love
P.S. Let’s keep the momentum going! Sign up for our upcoming Dec. 7 webinar, “Deepening Congregational Involvement with Standing on the Side of Love.”
*Reuters reports, “about 1.06 million deported immigrants as of September 12, 2011.” link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/us-obama-immigration-idUSTRE78J05720110920