"Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama's lax immigration enforcement policies, and it has encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally, many of whom are children from Central America." - Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th
This is a ridiculous and simple-minded assertion designed to play on prejudice and fear. The law that codified current policy toward unaccompanied minors, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was enacted in 2008 and signed by President Bush. Reagan administration policies in and subsequent neglect of countries in the Central American Northern Triangle, which includes Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, have directly led to the highest homicide rate per capita in the world. These governments cannot contend with rising levels of violence. Internally displaced persons constitute the bulk of those displaced but increasing numbers of people are crossing state boundaries in search of safety. However, criminal gangs are transnational, meaning there is no sanctuary obtained by crossing an adjacent border.
The TVPRA requires the establishment of standards for custody, creation of more child-friendly asylum procedures, and relaxation of eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ) visa status. These are simple internationally recognized expectations of humanitarian treatment. Do the critics believe that inhumane treatment of children for their first 72 hours or so in America will somehow discourage migration?
At the organizational meeting a range of immigrant advocacy issues of importance to Virginia's immigrant communities will be discussed:
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform on the Federal Level
- Access to Driver's Licenses
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and In-State Tuition
- ICE Detainers and Local Immigrant Detention Policy
- Other issues of concern
Advanced registration is required. To attend the event held from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM at the Church of the Incarnation Parish Activity Center, 1465 Incarnation Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22901, REGISTER HERE.
The Steering Committee of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) includes the following organizations:
- Legal Aid Justice Center;
- Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy;
- Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations;
- Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia;
- Virginia New Majority;
- League of United Latin American Citizens;
- American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia;
- Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Policy;
- Shirlington Employment and Education Center;
- National Korean American Service & Education Consortium.
VACIR is organizing advocates and activities throughout Virginia as it works towards its goals. A flyer for the event is available here.