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Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on Deportation for Minor Infractions

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on a report by the New York Times that most of the nearly two million Americans without legal status who have been deported since 2009 had committed only minor violations or did not have any criminal record.

Despite assurances by the federal government that it would focus its immigration enforcement efforts on “criminals,” about two-thirds of the people deported were not alleged to have committed any serious violation of the law. In addition, an increasing number of men and women have been removed from the United States in an expedited procedure that does not allow an opportunity to appeal the decision.

“This study only confirms the experiences of people in communities around the United States who watched as their neighbors and members of their family were deported for minor infractions, such as violations of traffic rules. We could not reasonably describe a person who has incurred a parking ticket as a ‘criminal.’ Yet the federal government has applied a policy of deportation that absurdly defines such men and women as criminals,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who with several of her colleagues has asked President Obama to suspend deportations until the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform, which would allow many of the 11.5 million Americans without legal status to remain in the United States as permanent residents and, eventually, as citizens.

“The continued deportation of hundreds of thousands of people every year imposes serious harms on the families from which men and women are removed, as well as on the community as a whole, without any benefit to our society. Who could imagine that the removal of a father or mother from their children – for the ‘crime’ of violating traffic regulations – would not undermine the faith of those children in the due process of law or the good sense of their representatives in government? I remain committed to the suspension of deportation, and to a policy of immigration reform that recognize the value of families.” 

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.

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