Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has called on United States President Barack Obama to stop the deportation of Caribbean and other immigrants who lack legal status in the United States.
Clarke, who represents the largely Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, said her appeal would help to “prevent the continued dislocation of families and children that disrupts the communities we share.
“There are thousands and thousands of family in the community I represent who are threatened with deportation,” said Clarke, who is the Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies.
“These are real families – mothers and fathers, sons and daughters – who are living with the risk of separation, in some instances, permanent separation,” she added.
“Until we have comprehensive reform of a failed system of immigration, we cannot in good faith allow the often irrevocable harm of deportation to continue,” she continued. “With each day, we deport more than one thousand people who could potentially become citizens.”
Clarke noted that, in July, the U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill that would allow most of the victims of “our failed system of immigration to obtain status as legal permanent residents and, eventually, to become citizens.”
She said Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have “refused, however, to allow a vote on the bill.
“The people we represent have a right to expect that Congress will enact comprehensive immigration reform based on our values, particularly the belief that families should be protected from dislocation,” Clarke said.
“In the meantime, we should prevent the unnecessary separation of family members,” she added.
According to estimates by the Washington-based Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project, about 11.7 million undocumented immigrants were in the U.S. last year, up from 11.5 million in 2011.
While the increase is within the researchers’ margin of error, Pew researchers said the United States’ recession-era decrease in illegal immigration — including visa overstays and border crossings — has “bottomed out.”
Illegal immigration peaked at 12.2 million in 2007 and dropped to 11.3 million in 2009, the researchers said.
“Whether this is an indication that the economy’s improving enough to attract new unauthorized immigrants is hard to say,” said Jeffrey Passel, Pew Research Center senior demographer.
He said seven percent of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. live in New York.