Recently in U.S. Electoral Politics Category
NOTE: What follows is the limited perspective of one person, a pro-migrant chapringo ally, on the immediate story of what led to President Obama's promise to stop the deportations of 1 million people, last week. Most of the people who could tell this story better than me are already working furiously on next steps. I've written this out because it's a story that needs to be told to better determine next steps, but if I'm missing anything or telling it wrong, please help me tell it right in the comments or through your own posts, which I will happily link to. What follows is a draft that I will continue to modify in an effort to make it better.
"We can exist now in the eyes of the country."
Julio Salgado - Los Angeles Times(16 June 2012)
Wow. I don't think it's possible to overstate the significance of the "Remarks by the President on Immigration," delivered last week. President Obama just promised to "lift the shadow of deportation" for what some estimates suggest is anywhere between 800,000 and 1.4 million young people and also allow them to "apply for work authorization." The internet exploded with the news.
The mainstream media conversation quickly devolved into vapid statements about political process and discussion of the even more inane actions of an incompetent reporter. Beneath that empty noise, a much more interesting conversation is taking place. A movement, led by undocumented immigrants, found a way to bend the will of the most powerful person on Earth and is now furiously debating where to go from here: celebration? implementation? escalation? My co-blogger David Bennion has already doused some of the euphoria with some hard legal analysis of how this is going to play out.
Nowhere, though, have I seen even a basic recounting of what brought us here. From everything I've read, it's as if the President just woke up by himself one day, last week, and all of the sudden decided to "do the right thing, period." Everyone who has followed this closely knows that's not how it happened, but not everyone in the country, much less the world has been following this closely. So, before I even get into the next steps I think it's extremely important that we all try to tell the story of how we got here. What follows is my feeble attempt.
The Fox And The Wolf: The Story So Far
The story of how a subset of unauthorized migrants who used to be fearful and invisible grew to be undocumented, unfraid, and most importantly well-organized enough to move the most powerful person on the planet, last week, is an epic story that continues on. I'm not sure if even the greatest artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers, could do the story justice working at the peak of their powers. I'm not going to even attempt to recount that entire story, myself, but I will try and tell the most recent iteration of it.
I greatly value the work that Immigrants' List does, and encourage folks to donate to them. We need more pro-migrant PACs like Immigrants' List, and we need more money for them if we ever hope to have a pro-migrant impact. Of the ten heroes Immigrants' List cites, I agree with their selection of the other nine heroes. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), however, has to be one of the worst pro-migrant politicians in the country. That is to be distinguished, of course, from some of the worst nativists in the country, like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
There has been a lot of talk lately about Mitt Romney being the poster child for vulture capitalism. This referring to the practice of opportunistically feeding off of struggling workers, prioritizing making profits for shareholders of big corporations over the creation of good jobs for working families. But what about the effects of vulture capitalism on immigration?
Cecilia Muñoz used to be known as a fighter for immigrant rights. She worked on NCLR's policy team advocating for better laws in Congress. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2000 for her work on civil rights and immigration.
But then she took a job working for the most anti-immigrant president since Herbert Hoover. Each year he has been in office, President Obama has set a new record for deportations. He is on track to deport more people in one term than George W. Bush did in two. Maybe Muñoz didn't know what she was getting into in January 2009. After all, Candidate Obama sounded like an ally to immigrants back in 2008 when he was courting the Latino electorate:
the system isn't working when... communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel. When all that's happening, the system just isn't working.and
I don't know about you, but I think it's time for a President who won't walk away from something as important as comprehensive reform when it becomes politically unpopular.You could parse Candidate Obama's statements to make them consistent with President Obama's immigration policies, but not many would believe it.
And that is Muñoz's problem now: her job is to defend the indefensible. She is paid to bamboozle the pro-migrant electorate so her boss can get reelected.
The overall agreement on focusing on border security first is just filled with lies and logical fallacies. It's a lie to say that communities along the border aren't safer than they've ever been, and it's a fallacy to believe that you can stop unauthorized migration across the border without fixing the broken immigration system. What's worse, people who have done the research on the border have shown that beefing up border security has probably done a lot more to keep unauthorized migrants in than to keep them out. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in this case, politics has never been about truth, but about power.
This was originally posted on Crooks and Liars.
At Netroots Nation, Felipe Matos of the Trail of Dreams caught White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in two lies, yesterday: (1) Obama "hears from DREAM Act Students all the time," and (2) Obama "does not have the executive authority [to stop the deportations of DREAMers]."
House Majority Leader John Boehner unexpectedly appointed the lesser-known Gallegly, over the more notorious Iowan nativist, Steve King, as Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Immigration. Gallegly has been less vocal than King but his policies are no less horrific.
Now, according to Aaron Blake of the Washington Post, it looks as if Elton Gallegly, along with another notorious Californian Republican nativist, Brian Bilbray, are going to be losing their seats in the redistricting battle following the 2010 Census. Brian Bilbray, for those who don't know, is on the board of the nativist hate group, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
[This post was originally written for Crooks and Liars]
I'm almost in denial about having to ask people to do this: sign this petition at change.org to help stop the deportation of Prerna Lal. It's difficult to think of a more stupid move for the Obama administration to make than to initiate removal proceedings against Prerna. Prerna is arguably the most visible undocumented person, or Dreamer (after the DREAM Act), in the U.S.
As her website will tell you, she helped found dreamactivist.org, one of the most powerful online hubs for migrant youth, she's a blogger at change.org, and she's a board member of Immigration Equality. She also earned her Master's degree in International Relations and is currently studying to get her law degree at George Washington University.
The Obama administration is telling us that they're focusing their resources on the worst of the worst while folks on the ground know that they're going after people like Prerna all the time. If you don't want to read on, please sign this petition to stop Prerna's deportation.
... therefore, the #1 goal of the immigrant rights movement should be to unelect Obama in 2012.
The defendant faces the following charges:
- Assault: Obama has ushered in a reign of terror against immigrant families in the U.S., with almost 400,000 deportations in 2010, a new record. A generation of children in immigrant families, many of them U.S. citizens, experience the ongoing trauma (pdf) of knowing that their parents could be stolen away from them in the night, any night.
- Fraud: Obama claims to oppose entangling local law enforcement in federal immigration matters while foisting the national racial profiling program called Secure Communities on localities around the country which does exactly that. He claims to oppose deporting Dreamers while his agencies deport more of them than ever before.
- Theft: The Social Security Administration collects payroll taxes from millions of immigrant workers who never see a dime in retirement benefits and who are not eligible for SSI disability payments. Increasing numbers of undocumented workers are applying for Temporary Tax ID (ITIN) numbers to pay federal income taxes, yet they are excluded from all public benefits programs and instead are targeted for imprisonment and deportation by federal agencies funded by those same tax dollars.
- Absence of remorse or rehabilitation. Instead of recognizing the immigration Policy and Political Traps into which he has fallen (or jumped), at every opportunity, Obama boasts of his record as Deporter in Chief. Feeling politically vulnerable as the child of an immigrant himself whose American bona fides have been challenged, he has responded by out-persecuting the persecutors. Like a schoolyard bully, he targets others to avoid being targeted himself.
The evidence is now before the jury, who will deliver the verdict on November 6, 2012. The jurors will not be as easily fooled this time around with promises the defendant doesn't intend to keep. He should hope he has a skillful defense attorney.
I don't believe he can pin these crimes on subordinates or co-conspirators. In the end, responsibility for terrorizing immigrant families rests with the Perpetrator-in-Chief. Unlike the detainees who've died in his jails or in the countries to which he's sent them, Obama's only punishment will be carried out at the ballot box, his only sentence a comfortable and lucrative retirement.