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Campus community petition for action against deportations

Petition from faculty, staff and student members of the University of Puget Sound in Support of the April 5, 2014 National Day of Action Against Deportations

Dear members of the University of Puget Sound,

We write to offer you three ways to help stop the deportation policies described below and carried out four miles from our campus at the Northwest Detention Center.

• First, consider signing the following petition to President Obama, available online at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-actions-against-deportations.

• Second, consider joining us at the Rally at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma at 3pm Saturday, April 5, 2014. Logistics and carpool information at the “Latino Studies at the University of Puget Sound” Facebook Page.

• Third, invite your peers at Puget Sound to do the same.

March 26, 2014

University of Puget Sound

A Public Letter to President Barack Obama,

In the face of congressional inaction on immigration reform, you can and must take immediate executive action to turn back the deportation dragnet. No other country in the world deports more than the 1,000 people the United States currently deports daily. At present rates, your administration is on track to deport more people in seven years than all combined national deportations prior to 1997. By April 5th, 2014, your administration will have deported 2 million immigrants, 98% of whom are Latinos. Many deportees have lived in the U.S. for decades, are married to US citizens and have children that know no other country but the US; the great majority have no criminal record. These deportations cause tremendous pain among the various Puget Sound Latino communities, especially among the many children of deportees who are left parentless or forced into the foster-care system. All suffer from deeply rooted emotional and psychological wounds.

Detention rates have also skyrocketed under your administration, with a daily average of 5,532 detainees in 1994 to the current, congressionally mandated minimum quota of 34,000. The three largest private prison corporations–the Geo Group, Inc., Management and Training Corporations, and the Corrections Corporation of America–are reaping annual profits of more than $5 billion a year and spending more than $20 million lobbying legislators to guarantee the inflow of new inmates to their cells.

The Northwest Detention Center in our hometown of Tacoma is the third largest immigrant detention prison in the country and is managed by the Geo Group, Inc. On any given day, the Northwest Detention Center holds as many as 1575 women and men who must await their deportation without the right to legal representation. These immigrants are detained for a period of two to six months, and often times up to many years, costing taxpayers $108 per person, per day.

On March 7 of this year more than 700 detained immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center began a hunger strike. Apart from demanding a halt to the unjust deportations separating and terrorizing families, destroying homes, and bringing about financial and emotional insecurity among working-class Latino communities, they protest the inhumane conditions inside the prison and the exploitation of their labor (they receive $1 a day for their labor). Jesus Gaspar Navarro remains in isolation after 20 days on hunger strike, and on Monday, March 24th, 70 people rejoined the hunger strike after seeing little change in their conditions.

On Saturday April 5, 2014, Tacoma and Seattle communities will meet at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma to join other local and national voices, organizations, and families of deportees nationwide to say: “2Million2Many! Not One More Deportation!”

As faculty, students and staff of the Puget Sound community, we too stand against the massive detentions and deportations carried on by your administration; we stand against the rupturing and terrorizing of families; we stand against the violation of human rights of the detainees at the Northwest Detention Center, and we call on you and your administration to take concrete action today to halt the detention, incarceration, and deportation of immigrants.

Sincerely,

Oriel María Siu, Hispanic Studies and Director, Latina/o Studies

Robin Jacobson, Politics & Government

Monica DeHart, Sociology & Anthropology and Director, Latin American Studies

John Lear, History and Latin American Studies

Amy Ryken, School of Education and Environmental Policy & Decision Making

Ariela Tubert, Philosophy

Richard Anderson-Connolly, Chair, Sociology and Anthropology

Elise Richman, Art

Don Share, Politics & Government and Latin American Studies

Siddharth Ramakrishnan, Biology and Chair, Neuroscience

Nancy Bristow, History and African American Studies

Doug Sackman, History

Priti Joshi, English, Gender Studies, and Asian Studies

Margi Nowak, Sociology & Anthropology

Nick Kontogeorgopoulos, International Political Economy and Asian Studies

Gareth Barkin, Sociology & Anthropology and Asian Studies

Brad Dillman, Chair, International Political Economy

Rev. Dave Wright, Chaplain/Director of Spirituality, Service, & Social Justice

Grace Livingston, African American Studies

Michael Benítez Jr, Dean of Diversity

Czarina Ramsay, Multicultural Student Services

Dexter Gordon, Director, African American Studies

Harry Velez-Quiñones, Chair, Hispanic Studies

Josefa Lago Graña, Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies

Peter Hodum, Biology and Environmental Policy & Decision Making

George Tomlin, Occupational Therapy

Rachel DeMotts, Politics & Government and Environmental Policy & Decision Making

Carolyn Weisz, Psychology and African American Studies

Melisa Galván, History

Brendan Lanctot, Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies

Mark Harpring, Hispanic Studies

Suzanne Holland, Religion and Honors Program

Ruth Rosas, Student

Gabby Paz, Student

Miriam Cook, Student

Toria Messinger, Student

Mariana Molina, Student

Jake Novack, Student

Aubrie Bates, Student

Maddie Basham, Student

Alex Durante, Student

Lael Kiosse-Keane Richmond, Student

Katherine McCormick, Student

Sierra Grunwald, Student

Andrew Kranseler, Student

Jasmine Cohen, Student

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