Reforms for Deportation Policies that Split Families Unites Elected Officials and Community Leaders

José M. Serrano

July 28, 2010

The Daily News

Published: Sunday, September 20, 2009

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East Harlem against deportation, a group whose name doesn't leave any doubt about its mission, released an important report this past Thursday.

Aptly named "Immigration Reform Starts Here," the report makes concrete policy recommendations for the city and the state to protect immigrants and their families.

"The inspiration for our work comes from the hard-working immigrant families of New York...past, present and future," said State Sen. José Serrano (D-South Bronx), who spearheaded the group, a coalition of elected officials and community leaders.

The group is also forwarding 1,000 letters from immigrant families to President Obama. Signed by legal residents on behalf of their immigrant friends and families, the letters urge the President to put a stop to the unjust detention and deportations that tear families apart, and to take the lead in advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.

But the East Harlem group believes that much can also be done at the local level to improve the lives of immigrant families.

"To make the case for comprehensive reform in Washington, we need to energize the grassroots, and also curb the unjust practices that are taking place here at home," Serrano said.