Armed with a list of demands, activists with the Orange County DREAM Team (OCDT) paid a visit yesterday afternoon to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez' district office in Garden Grove.
As deportations continue while lawmakers are stalled on federal immigration reform, the OCDT are calling on her to support expanding President Barack Obama's Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to grant administrative relief to the rest of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.
“We are glad at the fact that Rep. Sanchez joined other Congress members in supporting the TRUST Act late last month, but she can do more if she is truly against deportations,” says OCDT member Jesus Cortez in a press release. “She must call directly on President Obama to immediately expand the program of Deferred Action and put an end to the daily 1,100 deportations.”
And that's not all…
In August, Congresswoman Sanchez spoke at a local town hall on immigration and said “Enforcement, I will support at the border. Militarization, I have never supported,” in response to a question from the audience.
Given that the Senate immigration bill, one in which President Obama believes would pass the House of Representatives if put to a vote, has enforcement provisions that are essentially synonymous with militarization, the OCDT wants a clear stance from the local lawmaker opposing them.
The immigrant rights group would like to see the congresswoman publicly oppose the so-called SAFE Act in the House that mirrors Arizona's notorious SB 1070 law. Critics assail the proposal saying it would end Deferred Action and lead to racial profiling.
“As the House of Representatives drags its feet on immigration reform by debating anti-immigrant bills like the SAFE Act, we need Rep. Sanchez to send a clear message that this type of backward step will not stand,” adds Santa Ana resident Dulce Saavedra. “She can do this by calling on President Obama to grant administrative relief to all undocumented people immediately.”
Unfortunately, the OCDT was unable to communicate directly with Sanchez, who aides said was speaking to a class offsite. Instead, they were met by district director Gaston Castellanos and Garden Grove police. Activists left their list of demands with staff and gave a September 29 deadline for a response, as well as a warning that if Sanchez ignores their demands, their actions would be “escalating,” although exactly what that means remains to be seen.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz