Tag Archives: obama

Obama marked Record High Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

24 Oct

Photo Courtesy of John Moore / Getty Images / AFP

By: Eduardo Pacheco, Researcher

On September 30th the fiscal year ended with the Obama Administration breaking their previous record set last year of deportations of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. Officials with ICE claim this increase in deportations is the direct result of “smart” immigration enforcement policy through the Federal Government’s Secure Communities Program that has led to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants suspected of having criminal backgrounds. According to the reports disclosed by ICE on October 18th, 55% of the 396,906 deported from the US had a criminal background, in which under the administration’s new policy placed them under the High Priority Category for apprehension and deportation. It is important however to realize that 45%, a very large percentage, of those deported had no criminal background putting some doubt in the exclusivity of only targeting criminal undocumented immigrants.

Many pro-immigrant rights organizations and organizations that advocate in the reduction of immigrant flows into the US disagree with the Obama Administration’s reports and policy.

Many of the organizations that seek to drastically reduce the number of undocumented immigrants claim that the change in deportation priority is a backdoor amnesty, and these recent record breaking deportation numbers is a way for the Obama Administration to shift attention away from this “backdoor amnesty”.

In contrast, pro-immigrant rights organizations argue that under the Obama Administration more families are being torn apart than ever before by the flawed Secures Communities Program, in which there is record that in the past many individuals have been wrongfully targeted by the program.

While Immigration continues to be used as a political football between political candidates and parties in the US, what is true is that lack of action to address this issue on behalf of Congress and the Obama Administration is having grave consequences on Latino Communities across the United States, Mexico, and Latin America. The disproportionate deportation of Latinos has led to friction between the Latino Community and President Obama. According to DHS 77% of Undocumented Immigrants residing in the US are of Latino descent, however according to the newly published numbers by ICE 93% of the 396,906 deported last fiscal year are Latinos mainly from Mexico.

There is a great need to reexamine not only these immigration enforcement policies, but also the rhetoric revolving around this issue and its negative consequences on the largest minority community in the US, for the sake of the US and of the countries that are having to deal with large numbers of repatriates.


Obama to visit El Paso on May 10th

9 May

by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org

President Obama will be in Texas tomorrow. He’s scheduled to first stop in El Paso to deliver a speech focusing on immigration – a conversation that almost always brings about confrontation. So far, Obama’s argument has been directed at those who care about this issue, saying they need to increase the pressure they place on Congress to act.

Obama’s trip to Texas comes after three weeks of White House gatherings to get input from mayors, lawmakers and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Immigration advocates say the president has laid the groundwork for reform, which would lead to more secure borders.

But while many activists blame the White House for not making the issue more of a priority, members of both parties oppose Mr. Obama’s proposed measures to create a path to citizenship for some people who entered the country illegally, saying it would reward law-breaking. Republicans criticize Obama’s overture about tackling the longstanding problem.They insist not enough has been done to secure the border with Mexico. For instance, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that, until the border with Mexico is secure and free of violence, immigration reform cannot occur and should not be a priority.

In response, the White House says it has put more “boots on the ground” along the southwest border than ever before and has cracked down on employers who hire undocumented workers. Obama administration officials contend the U.S.-Mexico border is more secure than at any time in history, despite the raging war being waged by narcotics cartels just across the Rio Grande.

The Border Patrol has increased to 20,700 agents, more than double the number of agents in 2004. As a result, the administration deported a record number of illegal immigrants last year, a point that has angered many Latinos. Federal officials say deportations of illegal immigrants hit a record 392,000 in fiscal year 2010.

Some advocates of an immigration bill aren’t on board the White House’s new push. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.) said Friday that he won’t raise expectation in the Latino community that immigration legislation will pass when it won’t.

The moment to use pressure is gone,” he said. “I’m not going to be disingenuous with the public…It’s not going to happen.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), who opposes Mr. Obama’s stance on legislation, also saw no signs of movement in Congress. “President Obama’s push to legalize millions of illegal immigrants is purely political,” he said. “The president wasn’t able to pass his version of immigration reform when he had large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate because of bipartisan opposition. It is unlikely he will succeed anytime soon.”

Our hope is that the president will move forward with a broad agenda to stop deportations and enable law-abiding people to become citizens. The number of illegal immigrants in the country is estimated at 11 million by the Pew Hispanic Center. In Texas, the roughly 1.6 million unauthorized resident immigrants represent about 6.5 percent of the state’s population.

And while there are countless initiatives on how immigrants should be dealt with, the solutions thesemlves are more elusive. Let’s hope the president makes substantial contributions to the debate–and more importantly, upcoming legislative action–in El Paso.