Undocumented Immigrants Demand ‘No More Meetings About Us, Without Us’

Elias Kuhn von Burgsdorff

Immigrant activists, many of whom are undocumented, picketed the White House on Monday, publicly calling for advocates to stop meeting with President Obama about his immigration policies until undocumented people are given a voice in the discussions. "We are among the millions of people who will either benefit or be harmed by the decisions the president makes, and we are here to represent ourselves in any future negotiations," said Rosi Carrasco, an undocumented leader from Illinois, in a press release provided to In These Times. She continued, "It simply makes no sense to for the president to convene meetings about us without us. If the president is committed to advancing a path to citizenship and political equality for immigrants, he must start by involving undocumented immigrants' participation in policy decisions affecting our lives." According to Politico, though other groups were sensitive to the cause, they hesitated to sign on to the protesters' proposed boycott: The campaign, organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, underscores a split in the advocacy community on its dealings with the White House. There are concerns that Obama wants to lower expectations for what he can do with his executive authority, and that the advocacy groups will fall in line. …  The immigrants then moved on to the Center for American Progress, where they asked to see to Marshall Fitz, the director of immigration policy. An employee said Fitz was not in the office. “I can actually see him through the window,” one immigrant said. “Oh, I thought he was out,” the employee responded as Fitz came out of his office. Fitz spoke with the immigrants for about 10 minutes, saying he would advocate for them but couldn’t commit as an institution to refusing meetings with Obama. “You are the big guys in the city,” an immigrant said. “I don’t feel like the big guy in the city,” Fitz responded. Fitz met last week with White House counsel Neil Eggleston and chief domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz as part of a series of listening sessions organized by the White House. The White House has not yet responded to the group's requests, though the president has met with family members of undocumented immigrants in the past.

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