Yesterday Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland, was among the dozen grassroots and national immigration reform advocates to meet with President Obama for over an hour at the White House. Today, he was out in front of the White House– protesting.
Here’s the context. Yesterday’s meeting was called in the wake of growing anger and frustration amongst immigration reform advocates at figures that show the Obama Administration has been deporting more immigrants a year than Bush, while making little progress on the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that he pledged to champion. After yesterday’s meeting, Torres and many leaders expressed confidence in the President’s commitment to moving reform forward, as well as a desire to see more concrete, public action on immigration by the White House.
By action on immigration, however, Torres probably didn’t mean more immigration raids, which have sparked outrage in Latino and immigrant communities in Maryland and beyond. In fact, the nation’s most prominent Spanish news anchor, Jorge Ramos, just tweeted (translation — original pictured at right, in Spanish):
Obama’s dilemma: there’s no immigration reform but now there are new raids and his administration has deported more people than Bush.
Today, CASA de Maryland hosted a press conference in front of the White House, denouncing the raids and allowing family members of detained immigrants to speak. One reporter questioned what response there might have been from the Administration, given the timing of the raids one day after the White House meeting. Here is a response from CASA’s lawyer, who says that he has been unable to get in touch with ICE (the federal agency in charge of immigration enforcement), as well as Gustavo Torres (first in English, and then in Spanish). Torres cites an upcoming meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in which they’ll discuss how to “reduce these attacks on the community” (loose translation).