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Record deportations point to loss of moral compass

Gabriela Flora of AFSC addresses a rally outside the immigrant detention center.
Gabriela Flora, AFSC Regional Project Voice Organizer, addresses a crowd of 150 people outside the GEO immigrant detention center in Aurora, Colorado on August 1, 2011. Photo: Jon Krieg / AFSC

October 18, 2011 - Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they deported more people from the United States during Fiscal Year 2011 than ever before. Nearly 400,000 migrant workers were removed from our communities across the United States, the largest number in the agency’s history.

The announcement from DHS came on the same day as PBS will air “Lost in Detention” produced by Award-winning journalist, Maria Hinojosa, which investigates the devastating consequences of our country's failed immigration system. “Lost in Detention” also details how the for-profit prison system rakes billions of dollars in taxpayer money in exchange for detaining immigrants under often inhumane conditions. 

“The Federal government’s repressive dragnet operations continue to devastate communities, tear mixed status families apart, and traumatize those impacted,” says Jordan Garcia of the AFSC.

“We are disturbed that DHS is touting the descent of armed agents on communities, breaking in doors, handcuffing mothers, arresting workers and deporting students is viewed as a sign of progress. Mass deportation actually indicates that policy makers have lost their moral ground when addressing the immigration issue. Sadly our country has turned into a deportation nation,” added Jennifer Piper of the AFSC.

As the deportations increase, more and more local governments have questioned ICE’s policies for their lack of transparency, constantly shifting goals, and disregard for local community safety. Earlier this year several governors and state legislatures withdrew their support from participating in controversial programs such as the so-called Secure Communities program (S-Comm).

“AFSC urges the Obama Administration to halt the deportations and end the state-of-siege migrants in our communities have faced for many years. We call upon congress to have the courage to work towards just and humane immigration reform which values and respects all families and workers,” stated Gabriela Flora of the AFSC.

For more info, contact: Jennifer Piper, 720-301-1858,