[Marxism] Obamaa and immigration

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 23 08:02:04 MST 2013


Back in 2008 we had a couple of Marxmail subscribers who in their dotage 
began stumping for Obama in terms reminiscent of Carl Davidson and 
company, particularly around his "better" position on immigration.

One coot wrote:

"The political differences which separate Obama from Clinton are not
QUALITATIVE. They are QUANTITATIVE,  but they are still significant. The 
largest-circulation Spanish-language daily in the United States
has come out for Obama over Clinton because of his position on the
immigration issue."

Another favored us with what amounted to Obama campaign propaganda:

"Barack Obama has not backed down" on driver's licenses for
undocumented people, said Federico Peña, a former Clinton
administration Cabinet member and Denver mayor now
supporting Obama. "I think when the Latino community
hears Barack's position on such an important and
controversial issue, they'll understand that his heart and his
intellect is with Latino community.

Obama has begun airing campaign ads on Spanish-language
TV and his supporters are working hard to promote Obama's
activist Chicago roots, which Peña declared forged "a
personal connection with Latinos that no other candidate
has had."

Added Durazo, "He's the son of an immigrant, he's the son of
All of those issues resonate with a hotel housekeeper, a
construction worker, a day laborer. ... I have great hope that
we're going to break through that gap in a big way."

---

I wonder what they make of the latest news, I state that as a rhetorical 
question since I learned long ago that they were as dodgy as the pig 
modeled on Stalin in "Animal Farm".

NY Times December 22, 2013
Amid Steady Deportation, Fear and Worry Multiply Among Immigrants
By JULIA PRESTON

NEW ORLEANS — Karen Sandoval’s promising life in this city fell apart in 
one day last summer when she went to buy school supplies for her two 
daughters.

Ms. Sandoval, a Honduran immigrant here illegally, was riding with the 
man her girls have always called their father. Immigration agents, 
seeing a dilapidated car, pulled them over. They released Ms. Sandoval 
but detained her partner, a Nicaraguan also here illegally, and he was 
soon deported.

Now Ms. Sandoval, 28, is grieving her loss and scrambling to support her 
children without her partner, Enrique Morales, and the income from his 
thriving flooring business. She sees no future for the girls, who are 
both American citizens, in her home country or his. So Ms. Sandoval is 
facing the possibility that she may never see Mr. Morales again.

“It is very difficult to explain to two little girls that Daddy will not 
be with us anymore,” Ms. Sandoval said.

Since taking office, President Obama has deported more than 1.9 million 
foreigners, immigration officials announced last week, a record for an 
American president. The officials said they focused on removing 
criminals, serious immigration offenders and recent border crossers, 
with 98 percent of deportees in 2013 in those groups, while sparing 
workers and their families. Mr. Obama is also pressing for an overhaul 
of immigration laws with a path to citizenship for those here illegally.

But immigrant leaders say the enforcement has a broad impact on their 
communities, with deportations still separating bread-winning parents 
from children and unauthorized immigrants from family members here 
legally, including American citizens.

Administration officials say the deportation numbers — more than 368,000 
this fiscal year — are driven by a congressional requirement that more 
than 30,000 immigrants be detained daily. They acknowledge that the 
lines are becoming harder to draw between high-priority violators and 
those with strong family ties.

For immigrants, the steady deportations have compounded their 
frustration with Congress, where the House took no action this year 
after the Senate passed a bipartisan overhaul bill in June. Increasingly 
advocates are turning their pressure on the president, saying he should 
use his executive powers to halt removals.

A 24-year-old South Korean, Ju Hong, brought attention to those demands 
when he repeatedly interrupted Mr. Obama during a speech in San 
Francisco last month, calling on him to stop deportations of all 
unauthorized immigrants in the country. In recent days, anti-deportation 
protesters blocked entrances to immigration detention centers in 
southwestern Ohio, Northern Virginia and downtown Los Angeles, with more 
than two dozen people arrested.

In New Orleans, street sweeps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
agents this year also led to a protest. On Nov. 14, nearly two dozen 
demonstrators, including 14 immigrants without legal status, tied up 
midday traffic at one of the city’s busiest intersections for nearly 
three hours until the local police arrested them.

“Our people feel they can’t go to the store to buy food or walk their 
children to school,” said Santos Alvarado, 51, a Honduran construction 
worker who joined the protest here even though he has legal papers. “We 
couldn’t be quiet any longer.”

Many immigrants here have been stunned by the arrests, in which some 
people seemed to be stopped based solely on their Latino appearance, 
because they had been living here uneventfully since they came in the 
chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to work on reconstruction.

One of those workers, Jimmy Barraza, was unloading a carful of groceries 
on Aug. 16 when agents pulled up with pistols drawn, handcuffing him as 
well as his teenage son, a United States citizen. A mobile fingerprint 
check of Mr. Barraza, who is also Honduran, revealed an old court order 
for his deportation.

Mr. Barraza, 28, won release from detention but is still fighting to 
remain. His wife is a longtime legal immigrant, and he has two other 
younger children who are American citizens.

“If they deport me,” he said, “who will keep my son in line? Who will 
support my family?”

Another Honduran, Irma Lemus, was packing fishing rods for a day on the 
bayou when cruising immigration agents spotted her family and stopped. A 
fingerprint check revealed that Ms. Lemus, too, had a deportation order.

“They handcuffed me in front of my children,” she recalled, speaking of 
a son who is 2 and a daughter who is 4.

After she spent 18 days in jail, lawyers won her release with an ankle 
monitor while immigration prosecutors weigh their options.

Ms. Lemus, 35, had steady work here cleaning hotels and a stable family, 
including a Honduran son, Joseph, who is 9 and in treatment for an eye 
disease, and her younger children who are American-born citizens. So she 
might be eligible for prosecutorial discretion, a policy the Obama 
administration has applied extensively to suspend deportations.

But although Ms. Lemus — like Mr. Morales, Mr. Barraza and many other 
illegal immigrants — had no criminal history, she did have a civil 
immigration record because of an earlier brush with enforcement 
authorities. She had failed to appear at a court hearing after she was 
stopped in 2006 crossing the southwest border. The judge’s order gave 
agents the authorization to deport her speedily.

Taking her children to Honduras, with its rampant gang violence and poor 
medical care, is not an option Ms. Lemus wishes to consider. So they 
live in anxiety that she could leave them any day.

“I think it would be so sad for all of my family,” her son Joseph said.

Many Republicans say Mr. Obama is deporting too few illegal immigrants. 
Robert Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said 
the figures published last week, showing a 10 percent decrease from 
2012, were “just more evidence that the Obama administration refuses to 
enforce our immigration laws.”

Administration officials said removal numbers were determined by a 
requirement, included by Congress in the immigration agency’s 
appropriations, to fill a daily average of about 34,000 beds in 
detention facilities. The mandate, which is closely monitored by 
oversight committees, amounts to about 400,000 removals a year.

“We are fulfilling the mandate,” John Sandweg, the acting director of 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview. “We want to 
fill the beds with the right people, that is, public safety and national 
security threats and individuals we are required by law to detain.”

But he noted that agents were encountering many immigrants who fit those 
priorities but also had family connections that could make them eligible 
to stay by prosecutorial discretion.

“Many of these cases are very complex and not cut-and-dry,” Mr. Sandweg 
said.

In New Orleans, administration officials said, the immigration agency 
halted some operations after the protest. They had been part of an 
anti-gang campaign with the local police. But random stops of Latinos 
were not consistent with the agency’s guidelines, the officials said.

Saket Soni, the executive director of the New Orleans Workers’ Center 
for Racial Justice, said deportations had picked up again in recent days.

“If Congress doesn’t act, another 400,000 people will be deported,” said 
Mr. Soni, whose group helped organize the protest. “This suffering has 
to stop.”

Advocates argue that Mr. Obama could expand reprieves he gave to young 
undocumented immigrants last year. But White House officials say the 
only solution is for Congress to pass a path to citizenship. Cecilia 
Muñoz, the director of the Domestic Policy Council, said in an interview 
that Mr. Obama did not have the legal authority for a wholesale curb on 
deportations.

“There are not sufficient tools in his toolbox to address the heart of 
this problem,” she said.





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