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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Immigrant Rights | Police State and Prisons
Obama's War on Immigrants
Obama's War on Immigrants
by Stephen Lendman
Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He governs lawlessly. He does so multiple ways. He targets humanity globally.
He does so at home. He's waging racist war on immigrants. He mocks notions of welcoming tired, poor, wretched masses yearning to breathe free.
He enforces white supremacist policies. Poor, desperate arrivals aren't welcome. People of color are scorned. America never was beautiful. For sure it's not now.
Obama reflects the worst of rogue leadership. He deported larger immigrant numbers than all his predecessors combined.
On average he exceeds 1,000 a day. In total it's over two million. With nearly three years left in office, maybe he'll try doubling it before departing.
His legacy will be hard to top. He wants tougher congressional legislation enacted.
According to National Day Laborer Organizing Network executive director Pablo Alvarado:
"Unless (he) alters course, he risks cementing his legacy as having presided over the most anti-immigration administration in history."
Latinos are prime targets. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm (ICE) scapegoats them for political advantage.
They're dehumanized. They're hunted down. Gestapo-like warrantless raids target them. Neighborhoods, workplaces, and other locations are raided.
They're targeted with shotguns and automatic weapons. It's done extrajudicially. Families are terrorized. Immigrants are pulled from their beds. They're rousted from workplaces.
They're confronted at gunpoint. It's done without explanation. Mistakes are made. Wrong homes or places of work are targeted.
It's done unapologetically. ICE agents are licensed to terrorize. They do so freely. They're unaccountable.
Immigrants are brutalized. They're rounded up. They're held in dehumanizing detention.
They're separated from family members. They're criminalized. They're treated like terrorist threats. They're horrifically treated.
They're summarily deported home. They're given no right of appeal.
Independent studies are scathing. ICE agents operate with no legal authority. They arrest people randomly.
They conduct lawless searches and seizures. They arrest based on ethnicity, race, appearance and English proficiency.
Neighborhoods are targeted pre-dawn. Local police cooperate. Homes are broken into lawlessly. Innocent victims are harmed. Family members are terrorized.
Misconduct is rife. Rule of law principles don't matter. Raids occur nationwide. They're virtually daily. They're unannounced.
Excessive force is commonplace. Constitutional protections are violated. Police state lawlessness substitutes.
Viciousness reflects official policy. It's worse than ever under Obama. From June 2012 through October 2013, nearly half of some 350,000 immigrants transferred to ICE from local jails had no criminal records or traffic violations.
Obama bears full responsibility. He defends himself irresponsibly. He does so by blaming Congress. He does it duplicitously.
Executive orders can stop this practice. They can close Guantanamo. They can halt illegal roundups.
They can close repressive detention centers. They can free lawlessly held immigrants. They can reunite them with family members.
They can grant immigrants immunity. They can grant full constitutional protections. They can mandate humane treatment. They can do so instead of branding unwanted immigrants as fifth column threats.
Obama lies claiming he's constrained. He governs by diktat lawlessly. He abstains from doing the right thing lawfully.
Immigrant rights activists call him the "deporter in chief." On April 5, nationwide rallies occurred in 62 US cities.
Eighty-three supportive organizations endorsed them. They included the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), numerous church groups, community action ones, and various legal defense organizations.
Activists chanted "two million, too many." "Up with education, down, down with deportation."
"Not one more." Marchers carried pictures of deported immigrants. They carried signs with Obama's face. They read "Deporter In Chief."
Other signs read "Smash the borders." A woman with her son held a sign saying: "Obama Don't All Kids Need Their Momma."
Another woman's sign said: "It's in your hands Mr. President." "We want education, not Rejection," said one more.
Hundreds around the White House demanded justice. Their signs said: "Time is Now." "A world without borders."
"Immigration relief for trafficked victims in the US." "Immigration Reform with Justice + Dignity."
Not One More campaigners organized April 5 rallies. They made three demands:
• stop deporting law abiding immigrants;
• end Secure communities: it's a federal initiative; it gives state and local authorities extrajudicial power to hold undocumented immigrants before transferring them to ICE for possible deportation;
• expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); it defers deportation for two years; it lets undocumented immigrants work.
Bipartisan complicity blocks comprehensive immigration reform. Obama supports what he claims to reject.
He's the most anti-immigrant president in US history. He lies claiming otherwise.
Deportations come under two broad categories:
(1) Removals are judicially ordered;
(2) Returns let targeted subjects apply legally to return much faster.
Over two million Obama deportations are removals. Federal data show longstanding practice averaged about 40,000 annually through 2008.
Bush averaged about 250,000 a year. From 2009 through 2012, numbers increased exponentially.
They jumped to about 400,000 a year. They include returned removals again sent home.
The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) gave immigration authorities increased enforcement powers.
They can reinstate removal orders without judicial review. In 2005, Operation Streamline was introduced.
It lets immigration courts hear dozens of cases simultaneously. It lets them rule on them collectively.
Doing so facilitates mass removals. According to immigration attorney Ben Winograd:
"In terms of how immigration enforcement is carried out, it's really a crossing of the Rubicon."
Deportations include parents of US-born children. Imagine separating them unjustly. Imagine giving them no legal recourse.
Between July 2010 and mid-October 2012, it happened over 200,000 times.
From 1997 to 2007, about 100,000 parents of US-born children were deported. Imagine the family crisis conditions created.
Imagine an uncaring government. Imagine one worse than ever under Obama. Imagine a president saying one thing and supporting another.
National Council of La Raza head Janet Murguia was unsparing. She blasted Obama.
She called two million deportations "a staggering number. (It) far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America."
US immigration policy is hopelessly corrupted. It's too broken to fix. Remaking it entirely is needed. Long denied immigrant rights deserve respecting.
Emma Lazarus' Lady Liberty words once had meaning. No longer in a nation hostile to its tired, poor, huddled masses.
No welcome sign greets them. They're scorned, abused, exploited ,deported and discarded like yesterday's garbage.
They're vilified for being the wrong color from wrong parts of the world. They're wanted only for low-pay/no benefits hard labor others eschew.
They're exploited and persecuted. They're denied all rights. They're underpaid. They're hung out to dry when not wanted.
It's the American way. It's longstanding. It's worse than ever under Obama.
New York Times editors tried having things both ways. They praised and criticized Obama at the same time.
On April 5, they headlined "Yes He Can, on Immigration," saying:
He's "correct when he complains that long-term immigration repairs have been throttled in Congress."
False! Blame falls squarely on his shoulders. He can do plenty. He abstained instead. He endorses hostile immigrant policies. He lies claiming otherwise.
"Neo-nativist Republicans fixated on mass deportations have blocked a worthy bipartisan bill," said Times editors.
Obama matches the worst of them. He's done so throughout over five years in office. On major issues besides immigration. Times editors didn't explain.
His anti-immigrant agenda removed over two million immigrants in the last five years.
He "recently told the Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, to find ways to conduct immigration enforcement more 'humanely,' " said Times editors.
He says one thing. He does another. The pattern repeats with disturbing regularity. He's perhaps America's most anti-populist president ever. He lies claiming otherwise.
He deferred for two years deporting "young people who would have qualified for legal status under the stalled Dream Act," said Times editors.
His "move to protect them was timely and wise." Comprehensive immigration reform is needed, they urged. They're right saying so. What's needed is much more than what they support.
Obama needs to say less and do more. He "often seem(s) like a bystander, watching the wheels spin, giving speeches and hoping for the best," said Times editors.
"It's hard to know when he will finally stir himself to do something big and consequential."
It's easy knowing he'll do nothing to help beleaguered immigrants. He hasn't for five years. Expect nothing different going forward.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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