Minneapolis (July 1, 2010) – The Advocates for Human Rights welcomes attempts by President Obama to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform in his address to the nation today. In his speech, Obama laid out several important issues that give a human face to this hotly contested policy issue, including family unity, workers’ rights, community policing issues, and procedural failures in the current immigration system.
The Advocates for Human Rights supports federal immigration laws that meet international human rights standards, including due process, freedom from arbitrary detention, respect for the unity of the family, protection of refugees, and protection of workers. The organization regrets that the President Obama did not take the opportunity to highlight many violations of these rights, including detention of individuals who have not committed a crime. Being out of status is not a crime; immigration status is regulated by civil laws, not criminal laws.
Robin Phillips, executive director of The Advocates also notes that “The distinction made between undocumented immigrants and those who are here legally sets up a false dichotomy. Many people flow in and out of status for a variety of reasons, and for the majority of low-skilled workers, there simply is no legal process for them to follow. This myth lends itself to scapegoating immigrant populations, and in turn, leads to a host of human rights violations.”
The Advocates for Human Rights encourages the President to support comprehensive immigration reform that is humane, just, and fair and that respect the inherent dignity of every person.
The Advocates for Human Rights is a volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights. The Advocates investigates and exposes human rights violations; provides representation to immigrants and refugees who have suffered human rights abuses; trains and assists groups that protect human rights; and works through education and advocacy to engage the public, policymakers, and children about human rights issues. The Advocates for Human Rights holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.