NEW AMERICA MEDIA: Who’s Afraid of Immigrants With Criminal Records?

v_fernandez_criminalrecords_500x279With Comprehensive Immigration Reform possibilities becoming a reality, the immigrant rights movement has a decision to make — will the movement be inclusive, or will immigrants with criminal records be sacrificed in the negotiations? In alot of ways, CIR, as it’s currently being discussed, could very well make things more difficult for immigrants who are entangled in the criminal justice system. These families are ACJP families, and we hope CIR becomes an opportunity for all, and that our immigrants rights movement can be advocates for all. Here is a piece on the topic by Valeria Fernández of New America Media.

PHOENIX — In Arizona, more and more immigrants find themselves joining the ranks of a group that could be excluded from immigration reform: undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

The local grassroots pro-immigrant group PUENTE is calling on Congress to enact an immigration reform package that includes those whose criminal records are related to the state’s crackdown on undocumented workers.

But the question is a controversial one, and one that some immigrant rights advocacy groups may not be willing to touch. A movement that has long touted the motto, “We are not criminals,” may not want to fight for the legalization of those who have any kind of criminal record. Continue reading