U.S. Electoral Politics: May 2010 Archives

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A striking difference between yesterday's May 1 immigrant rights rally in Washington, D.C., and the rally on the National Mall on March 21 was the message. Another was the mood.

The speakers on March 21 included advocates, immigrants, and a fair number of politicians. President Obama even spoke in a recorded message about his sorrow for the families that are torn apart by the broken immigration system. The crowd was silent during his message and gave him a massive cheer when it was done. The mood that day was exuberant and hopeful.

The mood at yesterday's May 1 rally in D.C. was one of anger and betrayal. Speakers talked about President Obama's broken promises, his failure to promote immigration reform, and his continued support for programs like 287(g) and InSecure Communities that lead to racial profiling by local law enforcement. They talked about the 400,000 people deported in Obama's first year of office, more than any single year of the Bush administration. Children spoke of their parents currently in the process of being deported by President Obama, and they asked him not to break up their families.

The immigrant community is starting to realize that, when it comes to immigration policy, President Obama and the Senate Democrats have been saying one thing and doing another. They express regret for family separation, for the workers who have paid into the tax base for decades but still face deportation, and for the DREAM Act students brought here as infants who live under the shadow of exile. But through their actions, they wholly support the status quo enforcement-only immigration system.