For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Tara Mulder
WASHINGTON, D.C. March 17, 2014 — President Obama met with immigration leaders Friday to discuss more humane enforcement of immigration laws. The President also announced a review of his administration’s immigration enforcement practices. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has long advocated for humane and just enforcement and is encouraged by these actions.
Unjust and harsh enforcement of immigration laws has a devastating impact on migrants, especially asylum seekers and survivors of torture. LIRS applauds President Obama for recognizing these harmful effects and seeking to ensure that immigration laws are humanely enforced. We urge President Obama to take this opportunity to reject the over-reliance on detention as a means of immigration enforcement.
“Each year hundreds of thousands of migrants and persons seeking protection in America are affected by immigration detention, including survivors of trafficking and torture. Asylum seekers and survivors of torture who have fled persecution, violence, and other threats spend months on average in detention while seeking protection and fighting deportation. These practices do not reflect our American values and are traumatizing for people who are fleeing abuse,” LIRS Director for Advocacy Brittney Nystrom said. “We are encouraged that President Obama takes this matter seriously and hope to see him take further action to bring our detention and deportation practices into alignment with our national values of liberty and justice for all.”
As part of LIRS’s principles for immigration reform, LIRS advocates to reduce the use of immigration detention and expand the use of community support programs for immigrants who do not need to be detained. Humane enforcement of immigration laws reflects LIRS’s values of respect for human dignity and the biblical call to welcome the newcomer.
LIRS is nationally recognized for advocating for and with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for serving migrants through 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States.