Administrations most recent delay already led to additional 70,000 deportations, tearing apart families and communities

WASHINGTON, DC - MALDEF and The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 39 of the nation's preeminent Latino organizations, calls on President Barack Obama not to delay in fulfilling his promise to grant affirmative relief from deportation to as broad a range of undocumented immigrants as possible. The president, who previously committed to take action before the end of the summer, then said he would delay such action until after Tuesday's mid-term elections. This delay has already resulted in an estimated 70,000 additional unnecessary deportations.

In a letter sent to President Obama on Monday, NHLA calls on the Obama Administration to immediately suspend the deportations of those eligible for relief under the Senate-passed immigration bill (S. 744), and implement as soon as possible an administrative relief program that is broad and far-reaching.

"Deportations continue to tear families and communities apart, with an average of 1,100 deportations daily. That's 1,100 new personal tragedies taking place across the country every day, as a child is separated from a parent, or other loved ones are separated from family members and the communities they have grown to call home. President Obama has committed to take action to stop these tragedies from occurring. Now that the mid-term elections have passed, the time for delays has passed as well. The President should act now, and broadly, to halt deportations and make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Latino families," said Hector Sanchez, NHLA Chair and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

"With the election concluded, there can be no further rationale for failing to act immediately and boldly, as long promised," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. "Failing to exercise clear authority to grant relief to the broadest cross-section of immigrants, and to do so swiftly and effectively, caves to the obstructionists in the House of Representatives who have blocked reform legislation despite bipartisan majorities in support in both chambers of Congress."

"Election Day has come and gone. The time for big, bold and unapologetic administrative relief is now," said Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation. "The President has both broad legal authority under law and the moral imperative to act. The Latino community is looking at the President to take concrete steps to end the suffering of undocumented Latino families and workers. No more excuses. No more delays. No more unfulfilled promises."

"We urge the President to take prompt action to stop the separation of any more college students from their families, many of them attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions. President Obama has repeatedly stated that he will act soon to end the deportation of hard-working immigrants and, now that the elections have concluded, we ask him to proceed without further delay," said Antonio R. Flores, President and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

For the full text of NHLA's letter to President Obama, click here or copy and paste this web address into your browser:

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund