Our VoiceImmigration

Cuéntame, Immigrant Rights Groups Release Video on SAFE Act

Imagine 2050 Staff • Dec 05, 2013

In June of this year, a federal bill titled the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, or SAFE Act, that would nationalize anti-immigrant laws and unconstitutional enforcement methods, was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote. The bill is co-sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC), as well as other anti-immigrant hardliners in the House. If passed, it would expand the reach of state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws and allow the use of Sheriff Joe Arpaio-inspired tactics to racially profile and detain immigrants nationwide.

On December 3, 2013, Cuéntame, America’s Voice, and CAMBIO released a video calling on Speaker of the House John Boehner to reject the SAFE Act and instead strive to pass genuine immigration reform. The video states, “The SAFE Act would make it a federal crime to be undocumented, turning mothers, fathers, and DREAMers instantly into criminals.” In addition, the video highlights other destructive policies that would result from the SAFE Act, such as allowing indefinite detention of immigrants. That would lead to a rise in spending on immigration detention centers and the elimination of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. It also calls attention to the act’s mandated racial profiling methods, which will turn anyone who resembles or sounds like an “immigrant” into a target for potential questioning. 

The proposed SAFE Act violates both human and civil rights of all people of color, regardless of citizenship status. If passed, it will turn anti-immigrant and racist laws, as seen already in states such as Arizona and Alabama, into federal law. In addition to turning state and local law enforcement into immigration agents, it also aims to prosecute permanent lawful citizens and institutions who interact with and aid those who are in the country unlawfully. This in turn will lead to increased deportations and have catastrophic effects of immigrant communities and families.

If the SAFE Act were to pass, it is feared that it will further drive a wedge between law enforcement and immigrant communities. The Washington Post recently featured a story highlighting the safety issues surrounding immigrant women in abusive relationships who do not seek help from law enforcement for fear they will be deported. This has caused many of these women to remain in relationships where they are subjected to spousal abuse. If the act passes, this problem is expected to only get worse, thus making communities even more  unsafe. The distrust and questionable tactics that would result from the SAFE Act has even lead to many law enforcement officials voicing their opposition to it.

It is important to stand with Cuéntame, America’s Voice, and CAMBIO and take action against the SAFE Act and the unconstitutional policies that come with it. There is an increasing need to call on House Republicans to pass legislation that benefits and preserves the rights of all immigrants, instead of proposing laws that further mar and disparage these communities.

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