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Lili Salmeron works for the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
Workshop Description: The Obama Administration and DHS have identified the so-called "criminal alien" as the primary target of the current deportation machinery. In announcing record-breaking deportations in 2010 (over 392,000 people), DHS has continued to emphasize the critical role played by programs like "Secure Communities," which now blankets 1080 jurisdictions across 39 states. This workshop will provide the historical and political context for the current enforcement-first/only policy. It will explain how changes to immigration law and the War on Drugs and the War on Terror – and their accompanying use of language such as “criminal,” “alien,” and “terrorist” to garner support – have been used to dramatically increase rates of deportation. And it will link how mass deportation programs (such as 287(g), CAP, and S-Comm) are being used to fuel the detention crisis we currently face. We will discuss campaigns across the country that fight back against the enforcement regime – including the New York campaign that aims to protect ALL immigrants regardless of their criminal records, rather than reinforce the idea that only dangerous "criminal aliens" should be deported. Finally, we will talk about organizing in communities that are at the crosshairs of the War on Crime and the War on Immigrants. This workshop is critical for laying the groundwork towards fair and just immigration reform and for highlighting the fundamental flaws of our current system of detention and deportation.