The Drop In Deportations / by Maria Hinojosa | January 10, 2014

The Drop In Deportations

The Latino vote helped re-elect President Obama in 2012. Yet despite Latino support, the Obama administration has been responsible for a record number of deportations, on track to reach the 2 million mark sometime this year.

However, deportations fell slightly in 2013.

So…should advocates renew their faith in Mr. Obama’s campaign promise of immigration reform?

 

 

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Disappointment across the aisle

 

Graca Martinez, an organizer with United We Dream, says she’s upset with President Obama’s deportation policy.

 

“He promised the first year of his presidency to give us immigration reform and here we are in his second term and he’s given us nothing,” says Martinez.”

 

In fact, the president’s immigration policies displease people across the political spectrum.

 

Raul Grijalva was one of 29 democratic congressmen who signed a letter asking for the deportations of non-criminals to be halted. He says the administration has fallen into a Catch-22.

 

“Now they find themselves with no political response on the other side and owning a policy that’s deported more people than in the history of the country,” says Grijalva.

 

Republican congressman Mario Diaz Balart is critical of the president’s deportation policy.

 

“He said that he was not going to deport folks that didn’t have serious criminal records, he is deporting record numbers of people, many of which have families in the United States and have not committed serious crimes,” says Balart.

 

Looking ahead

 

There could be movement on immigration reform this year.

 

House Speaker John Boehner continues to support tackling immigration reform in a piece meal fashion.

 

In the meantime, democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez argues the president should stop breaking immigrant families apart through deportations.

 

“This isn’t amnesty, this isn’t a permanent solution,” says Gutierrez, “this is a temporary solution that allows you to say, ‘I’m going to protect you in the place you’re at right now, you don’t get to travel, you don’t get to vote, you just get to stay with your family in a safe place.”

 

The immigration reform effort is further complicated by this year’s midterm elections.

 

Some reform advocates hope Hope Republicans will be more open to compromise after primary season.

 

Now it’s a waiting game to see whether President Obama is remembered as the president who tackled immigration reform or the one who carried out a record number of deportations.

 

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Mike H says:

I found this discussion frustrating. For one the talking about “immigration reform” as though the “reform” could only favor of those in the US illegally. Reforming immigration could just as reasonably be sending those without papers home tomorrow. Looking at the US immigration system one might reasonably opt to enforce the laws on the books rather than looking the other way.

Then there was a young lady who was taken to the US illegally as a child and grew up here but who’s father was deported to Mexico (a recurring theme on the show.) She claimed to support Obama and want him to “reform” immigration. But not being a citizen she can’t support Obama or any other US politician, at least by voting or donating. Hard not to sympathize with a young person who by no fault of her own was illegally brought here. But who’s responsible for that? Her parents, right?

When I think of immigration reform for the US and what I’d like to see it’s quite different than all the views I’ve ever heard on Latino USA. Mind you I’m not Latino. But I’m also not conservative, I find Obama’s actions to the right of what I want very often. I’m ok with the ACA, but would have preferred a public option. I’d like to see higher taxes on the rich, a higher minimum wage, a formal social contract that rewards working class people. But I don’t know how we get there with such informal border controls, and work arrangements. Like how does a country achieve

These discussions tend to have a bunch of right wing nuts on one side that want to seal the border with machine guns on one side, and the other side that thinks anybody who touches their toes on US soil should have all US social benefits for them and their extended family in perpetuity. Neither of those options are reasonable.

But from the Latino USA type interviewees: why the shock and surprise when people here illegally are threatened with deportation? When you (or your parents) break a law, if you get caught don’t you expect the law to be enforced? If somebody stole your car, but then drove responsibly and used it to take their kids to school and their parents to the hospital….what would you expect to happen to them? You aren’t against them driving their kids to school or their parents to the hospital are you? And you aren’t against people driving either, right? Certainly you wouldn’t expect the punishment for vehicle theft would be paying for the car after stealing it either. So why is everybody shocked shocked shocked that when people here in the US get deported, can’t register for services, college etc.?!

For the average NPR listener like myself, I certainly get a visa when traveling places that require one. Many years ago I was a student in central Europe. My family went through lots of paperwork to get me a student visa. The family I lived with had to register me with the town council and pay extra for services based on the extra occupant. And in order to get my visa my family was required to pay for my health insurance. I had to show proof I had no crimial record at home.This is in part why first world countries work. Most people follow the rules, pay the taxes, fill out the paper work. At some point if enough people bring their bad habits with them they will destroy what they came here for.

When I think of immigration reform I really don’t like the idea of allowing illegal immigrants in the US any benefit from their breaking our rules. Why don’t we 1) increase the number of legal slots and decrease the waiting time 2) try and estimate how many people in what type of jobs our economy needs and allow those people in 3) try and estimate how many charity cases we can afford and allow in those from parts of the world in crisis (especially from crises the US is partially responsible for like Iraq, Afghanistan etc.)

Please pardon the rant…..Latino USA just drives me nuts 😉 BTW on a lighter note, some of my NPR listening friends like to spoof Latino USA by talking in our US accent then switching to correctly pronouncing other non Spanish place names. For example New York with a British accent, O’Flaherty’s Pub with an Irish accent, Frankfurt with a German accent etc then switching back to US accent 😉

Casa Esperanza says:

It appears that your link to twitter is broken & also cannot seem to launch your comment link.