Robert Menendez

US Senator for New Jersey
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Menendez Urges Obama to Give Deportation Relief to Immediate Families of US Citizens, Dreamers, LPRs

March 4, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – During his acceptance remarks at National Council of La Raza’s 2014 Capital Awards Gala, where he was honored as a member of the Senate’s Bipartisan Gang of 8, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) urged President Obama to provide deportation relief to mixed-status families being separated by our nation’s broken immigration system. Senator Menendez specifically called for a cessation of deportations for the immediate families of U.S. citizens, Dreamers and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).

“While we continue waiting for the House of Representatives to wake up and move on immigration reform legislation, I urge the President to take action today and halt needless deportations that are splitting apart our families and communities,” said Senator Menendez. “The current deportation apparatus is an outrage and it’s a tragedy. And as we continue our fight to turn our shared goal of immigration reform into reality, we should take additional administrative actions to keep families together such as by granting prosecutorial discretion and deportation relief to individuals who are relatives of US citizens, residents, and DREAMers. Let there be no mistake, we still have broad bipartisan consensus in support of comprehensive immigration reform, and the real onus for a permanent solution remains in the hands of Speaker Boehner. This temporary fix would only allow federal agencies to prioritize the deportation of serious criminals over families – a policy DHS had suggested it would do, but hasn’t effectively implemented.”

Senator Menendez also took a moment to highlight the case of Carlos Oliva-Guillen, a New Jersey father who was reunited with his family after Menendez alerted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“I also support additional reforms to our detention system, such as building more discretion into the system so that detainees can be released if they are not a danger to the community,” said Menendez. “Just two weeks ago, my office had to ask ICE to reconsider the unfair deportation of a New Jersey man with no criminal record and three U.S. citizen children— one of whom is very ill and in medical need of his father. Does anyone think that an upstanding citizen and New Jerseyan like Carlos should be deported before a criminal is deported? No, no one thinks that but yet, that’s what is happening.”

Prior to Menendez’s involvement, Oliva-Guillen was in deportation proceedings after being held at Elizabeth Detention Center. Oliva-Guillen has no criminal record and entered the U.S. at age 16; his three children are ages six, five, and seven-months old. The youngest child, Jeancarlo, is currently being treated at the Children’s Hospital at Philadelphia for Hyperinsulinemia. The doctors suspect his condition is because of a genetic problem, and need Oliva-Guillen for further genetic testing. DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Newark was made aware of the dire medical situation, but that did not prevent the original denial of Oliva-Guillen’s detention center removal request. The decision was reversed as of February 20, 2014.

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