An Open Letter to Loretta Sanchez by the Orange County Dream Team

The Dreamers in action...
The Dreamers in action...
Photo by either Josue Rivas or Gabriel San Román--or someone else?

Here at OC Weekly, we're a proud Aztlanista front, so we're more than happy to run the following open letter by the Orange County Dream Team, that amazing group of undocumented students and their supporters who have been advocating for amnesty for (relative) ages. Their target this time around? Their favorite whipping pendeja: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Take it away, kiddos!

A Letter to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (from the Orange County Dream Team)

Congresswoman Sanchez,

Let us begin by acknowledging that on April 24th, several members of our organization had the opportunity to meet with you and two members of your local and DC staff.

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Let us also begin by acknowledging that although we hoped this meeting should have happened earlier (and under less tense circumstances) we found it to be cordial and productive in the ample time and attention that was given for our members to raise our concerns and request your more active role in moving the President to take action to address the record number of deportations under his administration.

Our opposition to Obama Administration's massive criminalizing and deportation policies are well documented in the public record, so we will just jump to follow-up on the requests and suggestions we made of you and your staff during that meeting, as well as the ways to move forward now that several changes have occurred in the landscape.

Our central request was and continues to be for you to publicly push President Obama to take immediate action to against the record number of deportations and expand the program of Deferred Action.

We applaud what's been reported as advocacy you have done in private and we ask that you make it public. Your office has been willing to assist individuals facing deportation and Rep. Gutierrez has stated for the public record that you have advocated for relief in private meetings between the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and DHS Sec. Johnson.

However, to make such change possible, it requires a public conversation and the President hearing from Congresspeople, like yourself on the public record. That is why the #Not1More Campaign has been very direct and public from the start. We ask you to take steps like those of the AFL-CIO, which has been an early advocate for administrative action, as it raised its demand privately and very visibly in public.


Loretta's 2012 Christmas card, because why not?
Loretta's 2012 Christmas card, because why not?

During our meeting on April 24, we reiterated our ask for you to be public, to really champion the recommendations you and the CHC made of DHS, and to send that message directly to the President who is ultimately the only one that can order the implementation of changes to immigration enforcement policies, expansion of Deferred Action and other Administrative Relief programs.

We specifically asked that you do so in one of two ways: hold a press conference with undocumented people in your district, or visit the undocumented families that were holding a month long hunger strike outside of the White House.

At the time you and your staff said that you had already taken this position publicly and offered to send us footage of you doing so in various news programs (we have yet to receive such footage). When asked to do so again side by side with undocumented families in your district you failed to provide a substantive reason why this wouldn't be possible, only alluding to the unwillingness of reporters to come to Orange County, and the possibility of triggering more conservative voters to turn out in greater numbers than more progressive ones during the midterm elections.

Although, we were upset to leave that meeting with no clear consensus on how you would move forward, we were optimistic that the door for your public support had not been shut, since you and your staff showed a willingness to continue this conversation. In fact, we continued the conversation over a series of emails where we were told only that things were busy due to some of the work happening in Congress.

Since we met, the Hunger Strike ended, and based on the President's current deportation rate thousands of people were separated from their families and deported.

Since we met, it became clear that the pressure on the President to act reached the point of no return and it is no longer a question of whether he will act but whether the administration's actions will be cosmetic or consequential (based on comments by White House staff Cecilia Muñoz, and rumored reports that action will be taken in two stages:a possible announcement of changes to the deportation priority list in the coming weeks or possible changes to Secure Communities (a program we can all agree should be deleted, not rebooted), then followed by "bigger" changes later in the summer.)

Since we met there have also been some troubling developments, namely reports that Democrats like Senator Schumer have returned to playing political games by asking the President to give Republicans more time, and in light of these developments, the need for more public pressure in favor of Administrative action from other Democratic Congress members has become more important.

Let us be clear: We cannot even afford a single day of inaction, let alone the two to three months that both the two stage rollout or legislative/political game would require. The President must act boldly and act now.

With the White House Hunger Strike now over, the only one of our recommendations for publicly championing the cause of Administrative Relief that is still available is the press conference with undocumented people in your district.

During our meeting you pointed to the unwillingness of many reporters to attend events in Orange County, but you don't have to worry about this. We commit today, as we did in the meeting, to take lead on reaching out to the press. We have experience in media outreach, and can also count on the support of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance's (CIYJA) Communications Director.

Further emails and conversations about whether you will or will not publicly push the President to act boldly to address mass deportations and expand Deferred Action and other Administrative Relief programs will not be a wise of use of either of our times.

We have done our part, and made our recommendations. The rest is up to you. What will it be?


Orange County Dream Team

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