President Obama, tell us how you really feel about immigrants!
FELICIA PERSAUD Special to the AmNews | 8/19/2011, 11:09 a.m.
While the rest of the country is largely focused on the tottering United States economy and fluctuating markets, the Obama administration, through its Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is quietly showing its true colors on immigration reform and deportation.
Obama's czars at the DHS have now imposed a dictatorial policy on all states, simply telling them they cannot opt out of the much-criticized Secure Communities enforcement program.
Through the program, the FBI shares the fingerprint data of people arrested by local and state law enforcement agencies with federal authorities, who can use the information to check for immigration law violations. Once arrested, undocumented immigrants are red-flagged in the system, picked up and placed into detention centers to await deportation. This, of course, applies to anyone, whether an axe murderer or an immigrant who commits a minor infraction.
This draconian new law comes from an administration that swears it has immigrants' backs and supports immigration reform and the DREAM Act, yet one whose Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents continue to deport dreamers and boost its million-plus deportation number, second to no other administration.
The harsh reality now, as laid out in an Aug. 5 letter to state governors by ICE Director John Morton, is that the Secure Communities program, which rounds up and deports immigrants without a conviction, is going to be imposed whether they agree to it or not. Now no state, including Illinois, New York and Massachusetts, can democratically choose to opt out-much like no immigrant, dangerous or not, who has been charged but not convicted can benefit from the right of innocence until proven guilty.
Morton claims the agreements that had been sent out were meant to only educate states about the availability of the service, not give them the option to opt out. Further, stated Morton, "to avoid further confusion," ICE was terminating the agreements with all states and making the rule mandatory.
And so, ironically, while the Justice Department fights against states who want to make local police immigration enforcers, the DHS will now be doing the same all across the country-whether we like it or not.
This while President Obama, of course, continues to pay immigrant voters lip service on how much he supports reform and the DREAM Act, yet refuses to use his executive power to help the many families devastated and torn apart by this rising deportation mandate.
Obama, no doubt, is focused on playing politics with immigrants' lives while trying his best to win a second term and appease the right-wing bigots who fail to see the economic contribution immigrants-whether documented or not-are making to this country.
Every immigrant, especially permanent residents and the undocumented, should be afraid of this new immigration mandate because they are all only a minor infraction away from facing the wrath of the ICE man. It is time immigrants and immigrants' advocates in all sectors of this country rise up and voice their outrage to the Obama White House.
Let the president know that this policy will not be tolerated, even if it means taking to the streets in protest of such a draconian measure.
The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.