20 years ago, one of the worst laws you’ve never heard of was signed by President Bill Clinton: The Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. IIRIRA is a major reason our immigration system is broken. It laid the groundwork for millions of families to ripped apart. Unless something changes, millions more will be deported regardless of who is elected the next President.
There are many parts of IIRIRA that need to be repealed or fixed, but Bill Clinton can start with a simple step: he can support the National Day Laborer Organizing Network-led campaign to #BringJoseBack.
Jose Alvarez is the sort of person Bill Clinton’s laws rip apart from our communities every day. Jose, the hardworking father of six children (one of them a veteran), and grandfather to four, was picked up by Cal State Long Beach Police for a broken headlight. Because of a 21-year-old non-violent drug charge, Jose found himself deported to Mexico just hours later.
It took only hours to undo the decades of life Jose Alvarez built in our communities because of a laws Bill Clinton signed. Unless someone like Bill Clinton intervenes, Jose is in danger of being separated from his family forever. Bill Clinton has distanced himself from many of the laws he enacted 20 years ago, including harmful trade agreements, harsh drug prohibition laws, and the gutting of welfare. It’s time he do the same for IIRIRA and help #BringJoseBack. If enough of us raise the issue to him, he’ll have no choice.