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A Milestone towards Justice: Statement on President’s Announcement of Executive Action on Immigration


Mónica Hernández, Regional Coordinator, SEIRN

865-274-6234 *

The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network joins immigrant communities in celebrating a significant and historic victory.  After nearly a year and a half of Congressional inaction, President Obama is using his legal authority and the moral imperative to implement a deferred action program that will provide temporary relief to up to 5 million immigrants and allow them to live with dignity and without fear. This tremendous victory is the direct result of immigrant communities and grassroots organizations bravely stepping forwards and refusing to remain silent about the devastating impact of this country’s inhumane immigration policies. Today we honor the thousands of undocumented immigrants who at great risk to themselves have stood up and demanded Not One More deportation. Their persistence and resilience got us here today and it is their example that will lead us forward.

While we rejoice with the millions of families who will gain a temporary respite from the fear of deportation, we also stand in solidarity with the millions of our immigrant brothers and sisters who will be left out by the President’s plan, including many LGBTQ and other immigrants without citizen or legal permanent resident children. We stand with immigrant communities and people of color along the U.S.-Mexico border who will be subjected to further militarization and violence. And we stand with those immigrants who will continue to be criminalized and robbed of their dignity. This significant, but impartial victory, marks a milestone on our arduous struggle for justice and to lift up the dignity and the humanity of every single person in this country. As we move forward, SEIRN will defend this victory against attacks and will continue to fight for a permanent solution that provides relief for all of our sisters and brothers and ends the criminalization of our communities. 


The mission of the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN) is to lift up the voice and leadership of immigrant communities in the Southeast and nationally, promoting collaboration, exchanges between member organizations, political education and collective action to build just and inclusive communities throughout the region. SEIRN envisions grassroots immigrant communities joining other marginalized communities as equal partners to build a regional movement to transform the South into a place that respects the dignity and the human rights of all.


Enough is enough: SEIRN urges President Obama to act now to end the deportation crisis

For Immediate Release

January 29, 2014


Mónica Hernández, Regional Coordinator, SEIRN

865-219-3979 ~


Enough is enough: SEIRN urges President Obama to act now  to end the deportation crisis

Atlanta, GA- During last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama urged members of Congress, yet again, to “fix our broken immigration system.” For the past six years, our communities have listened to President Obama highlight the contributions of immigrants to this country and call on Congress to reform our immigration laws. But during President Obama’s terms, two million immigrants have been deported and thousands of families have been torn apart.  Enough is enough.

As President Obama stated during his State of the Union address “wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”  It is time for the President to use his power to stop deportations and offer administrative relief to our community. The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network  urges President Obama to exercise his Executive power to put an end to the massive deportation crisis facing our community.



SEIRN's mission is to build just and inclusive communities throughout the South by supporting immigrant rights organizations, fostering regional collaboration and peer exchange, strengthening alliances with the progressive movement, and facilitating joint analysis and action on issues of common concern.


Southern Supporters of Immigration Reform Join Alabamians in Huntsville to Decry Senator Jeff Sessions’ Efforts to Torpedo Bill

May 20, 2013


On Monday, May 20 at 4:00 PM CST supporters of immigration reform will gather outside Senator Jeff Sessions’ office in Huntsville, Alabama to denounce his efforts to derail S744, the bipartisan immigration reform bill that would give 11 million aspiring Americans a path to citizenship.

Members of the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN) will join the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ), the Alabama NAACP, and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) to present a giant puppet of Sessions with the “George Wallace Memorial Award” for his consistent remarks and actions against people of color, including immigrants. 

“As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Sessions is doing everything he can to torpedo long-awaited and desperately needed immigration reform,” said Mónica Hernández, SEIRN Regional Coordinator.  “But the fact that even members of his own party are rejecting his 49 mean-spirited amendments shows that he is desperately out of step with Alabama, the South and the nation as a whole.”

“We have traveled far to be here in Alabama, because we want Senator Sessions to know that we will not let him stand in the way of our rights and our dignity,” said Victor Alvarez, who traveled to Huntsville from North Carolina. “And we want our own Senators to support immigration reform and show the nation that the new South embraces the diverse communities that call it their home,” he said.

Fanny Gonzalez, from Nashville, Tennessee, explained, “ I am a mother that is fighting against my deportation. Today a delegation from the Comité of Migrant Women are coming to Alabama to tell Senator Sessions that families in the Southeast also want a just and humane immigration reform and we will fight until we obtain it. We won’t allow families, which are the most important foundation of a society to be destroyed by anti-immigrant families. “

Evelyn Servin, immigrant community leader from Russellville, Alabama, said, “Jeff Sessions stands alone in denying our country’s legacy as a nation of immigrants. We hope that his fellow Senators and our fellow Alabamians continue to isolate his extremist views.”

“We would like the Senator to follow the will of the majority of Americans who support immigration reform,” said Hernández. “But if he won’t do that, then we ask him to step aside and let the “Gang of Eight” and the rest of his colleagues forge ahead and get the job done. Eleven million members of our community—and the rest of the nation---are counting on them to overhaul this broken, dysfunctional and inhumane system. And history will harshly judge those who obstruct the efforts to align our immigration policy with the principles of liberty, justice and dignity that are the pillars of this country.”



Families Facing Deportation Confront Southern Regional ICE Office  


Monday, April 22, 2013

Contact: Monica Hernandez 865.548.6388

Families Facing Deportation Confront Southern Regional ICE Office

As Senators Debate Path to Citizenship Today, 1000 Families will be Separated

New Orleans - At 11:00 AM, five families facing deportation, including one from Nashville, entered the Southern regional field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to demand that the office's public advocate, Bryan Acuna, stop their removals. Locally, it is the role of the public advocate to respond to community concerns and advocate for cases that should be granted discretion. The delegation also asked that the office cease the violent raids and targeting of low-priority cases that are rampant in Tennessee and across the region.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony related to immigration reform, the four families are clear examples of the 1,100 people still being deported on a daily basis and call on the President to suspend deportations so potential beneficiaries of immigration reform have the opportunity to apply. 

The delegation entering the office today includes:

Megan Macaraeg and her daughter Joannah, from Nashville, TN, are fighting the removal of Joannah's father, Milton Molina, who was turned over to ICE by Tennessee police after being charged with a DUI.

"As the conversation for immigration reform continues, President Obama must put a stop to deportations. We cannot continue to deport 1,100 people every day who will have a pathway to citizenship when this bill becomes law," said Joannah Macaraeg. "If this proposal became law, my dad would be able to live and work in the United States without fear as he watches me and my sister grow up. However, he could be deported before he has the chance to apply."

Faviola Milan, a trans and undocumented women in Tennessee, is petitioning on behalf of her partner Misael Luis Santiago who has been in detention for more than two months after being pulled over on his way to work for driving 5 miles over the speed limit.

Liliam Cornejo-Romero who fled her home country of Honduras in search of protection from her partner that physically and emotional abused her and her daughters. Instead of allowing Lili to pursue a political asylum claim, ICE is forcing her to leave the country by May 8th, only two weeks before she due to give birth to her third daughter.

Angie Garcia Castro is asking that her husband, Lauriano Garcia-Zelaya, be released and his case be closed. Lauriano was profiled by ICE agents as they performed a raid on a New Orleans apartment complex. Despite not living in the apartments and having no record whatsoever, Lauriano could be deported at any moment.

Ana Castillo and her children will be advocating for her husband Martin Prado Vasquez who was on his way home from helping his brother with disabilities when he was indiscriminately detained in ICE "operations" in New Orleans. 


SEIRN's mission is to build just and inclusive communities throughout the South by supporting immigrant rights organizations, fostering regional collaboration and peer exchange, strengthening alliances with the progressive movement, and facilitating joint analysis and action on issues of common concern.



The Struggle for Dignity Continues:  Senate Immigration Bill Offers Hope for Millions, Fraught With Major Problems

April 18, 2013


Contact: Mónica Hernández, 865-548-6388

The Senate’s immigration bill is a long-awaited step towards addressing one of the key failures of U.S. immigration policy: the lack of options for millions of immigrants to regularize their status, become permanent residents, and eventually apply for citizenship. This “path to citizenship” is not a luxury:  it is urgent for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who have lived in the shadows and have endured attacks on their dignity for years, even decades.    Therefore, providing an opportunity for the 11 million to regularize their status is a critical component of fair and humane immigration reform.  So, too, are provisions that reunite families torn apart by deportation, and address the backlog for family members of legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens.

However, the bill exacts a very high price in exchange for what is a very long and uncertain “path to citizenship.”   The bill introduced by the Senate leaves millions vulnerable to second-class citizenship by tying legal permanent residence and citizenship to arbitrary triggers, long waits, and high costs. Because of these contingencies, millions may ultimately be denied the possibility of permanently adjusting their status. In addition, the bill leaves out many immigrants altogether, including LGBTQ family members, those charged with nonviolent criminal offenses, and immigrants who arrived after the cut-off date.

By eliminating some categories of the family preference system, the Senate bill undermines family unity, a long-held cornerstone of this nation’s immigration policy.  It eliminates the diversity visa program, an important avenue of immigration for African and Caribbean immigrants. “Providing an opportunity for the 11 million to regularize their status while eliminating currently available immigration options is a recipe for disaster that will only divide immigrant communities and fall short of the Senate’s intention of overhauling the nation’s broken immigration system for once and for all,” said Nayely Pérez-Huerta,  Regional Organizer of the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN).

We are gravely concerned with the enforcement provisions of the bill.  By pouring billions of dollars into border security, it perpetuates a failed and dangerous policy that has created a humanitarian crisis leading to the death of thousands of people without deterring unauthorized border crossings.   Furthermore, the introduction of the bill does nothing to ameliorate the detention and deportation crisis that our communities face each day. Therefore, we renew our urgent call to President Obama to immediately implement a moratorium on detentions and deportations that are tearing our families apart.

“In the coming days, we will continue to analyze the bill and offer our analysis on its specific provisions,” said SEIRN Regional Coordinator Mónica Hernández. “We have a historical opportunity and a moral imperative to do what’s right. As Southerners united for dignity, we will continue to engage our communities in this political process to press Congress to pass an immigration reform that upholds the dignity of all immigrants.”