Families For Freedom
In 1996, with the stroke of a pen, then-President Bill Clinton signed two bills that would be remembered notoriously as the 1996 immigration laws. The laws made whole classes of people detainable and deportable. Greencard holders with any contact with the criminal justice system, people fleeing persecution from other countries, undocumented workers earning less than minimum wage, and immigrants detained on secret evidence all became targets of the government, and at risk of permanent exile from the United States. In preparation for deportation, immigrants would be herded off like cattle by Homeland Security (formerly INS) into county jails and prisons around the country, indefinitely. Since 1996, over 1.8 million immigrants have been deported.
Deportation is a mandatory minimum that is tearing our families apart. The government provides no counsel to people facing deportation (exile), and in some areas as many as 90% of immigrant prisoners (detainees) have no attorney. The laws are so cruel that even with a good lawyer, most people will be deported. Deportation is a surprise punishment. New laws and heightened enforcement continue to erode the rights of immigrants.
Founded in September 2002, FAMILIES FOR FREEDOM is a New York-based multi-ethnic defense network by and for immigrants facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant prisoners (detainees), former immigrant prisoners, their loved ones, or individuals at risk of deportation. We come from dozens of countries, across continents. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods; and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.