February 13, 2013
NIYA Response to Secy. Napolitano’s Testimony: Applauds Broad Definition of Discretion
New definition could save Florida immigrant being deported tomorrow
During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary hearing today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano defined low-priority detainees in a way we have hoped she would for years: as someone who does not meet any of the “priority” enforcement categories. For one Florida immigrant being deported today, this could mean he gets to stay home.
“If they don’t fit any of the priority categories, their not a repeat violator, someone using the border as a revolving door, if they are not someone with serious misdemeanor conviction or felony conviction and if it was splitting up a family, that would be a low-priority matter,” Napolitano said in response to a line of questioning from Senator Dick Durbin.
We are learning today that Napolitano’s unwillingness to adhere to departmental policy thus far has ripped thousands of families apart that could have remained together. We expect this policy to be adhered to, especially as the administration pushes for immigration reform this year.
Baudilio Discua Andara was detained as a passenger in a car. He came to the US in 2007 seeking a better life, he has no prior convictions and has been an active member of his church. He has been detained at Broward Transitional Center since December and will be deported today.
Similarly, Yogesh Mistry, who fled India seventeen years ago and became a law abiding member of his community, is still in proceedings despite meeting Napolitano’s criteria.
A majority of the cases the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and DreamActivist.org take on would, according to Napolitano’s statement under oath, meet her definition of low-priority.
We hope that Napolitano maintains the definition of prosecutorial discretion she put forward today. As immigration reform returns to the public debate, the administration should apply its current discretionary policies in good faith in order to keep families together.
More on Yogesh Mistry: http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/yogesh
More on Baudilio Discua Andara: http://action.dreamactivist.org/florida/baudilio
The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is an undocumented youth-led network of 27 organizations in over 24 states that organizes communities to fight deportation and against the criminalization of immigrants. As NIYA we believe the only way to safeguard our communities is to empower, educate and most importantly, escalate.