Deportation Is No Laughing Matter

April 4, 2016

Deportation Is No Laughing Matter

April Fool’s Day happens every year on April 1, opening the door for pranks, jokes and fake news stories, like that of Hillary Clinton’s devastating cover up. As comical and laughable as these jokes might be, there are some topics that are not a laughing matter—such as that of deportation.

It was brought to the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ attention that local radio station B96 used the story of Jamaican immigrant J Niice, morning radio host on The J Show, as the root for a hoax used to give away tickets to their annual Summer Bash, a multi- artist concert that takes place every summer in Chicago.  Listeners partook in a conversation online discussing how they would “Save J” and were also asked to write character statements with an incentive to win tickets to the concert.  

However true this might be, the fact that millions of undocumented people across the country are facing deportation and separation from their families is not a laughing matter, nor should it be used as a means to market a commercialized event. On a national level, it is estimated that 235,413 people were deported in 2015, many of them with citizen family members, including children.

On April 18 the Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on President Barack Obama’s immigration initiatives – Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—which ICIRR believes sit on the right side of justice. Approximately 89 percent of DAPA eligible individuals are parents of U.S. citizens. The implementation of both DACA and DAPA will strengthen our communities, create jobs and grow the economy.

“The fact that a local radio station with an abundance of listeners made the subject of deportations a joke is insensitive to the many who are enduring such proceedings at this time,” said Lawrence Benito, CEO of ICIRR. “Take for instance the story of Noe, an Aurora man who has a four-year-old daughter been asked to self-deport. If the Supreme Court decides to unfreeze DAPA, individuals like Noe could stay in this country legally with their families and would demonstrate the promotion of justice and overcoming the politics of hate.”

The Supreme Court is expected to make their decision by June 30