The term “piranha” is defined as any of several tropical American freshwater fish that are voraciously carnivorous and often attack and destroy living animals. The word came to mind this week as I sought for a description of what Republicans are really doing to President Barack Obama.
Of course, there were some other, unprintable descriptions that surfaced immediately, especially after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano faced the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee. But I have decided for this article to stick to piranha over the much overused “vampire” phrase.
Short of offering up his blood to be toasted on the GOP’s sacrificial altar, it’s unclear what exactly the president can do to gain any support from the Republicans. Their latest attempt to destroy him is by spreading the lie that he has granted “de facto amnesty to illegal aliens.” Yet, no other administration has done more on the deportation front– certainly not Republicans and the Bush administration, which controlled the country for eight consecutive years.
Lies and emotions be damned, and let’s face the facts. Since Obama took office in 2009, removal of immigrants from the United States saw a spike. In 2009, the numbers passed 389,000, compared to just over 291,000 under President George W. Bush in 2007 and 272,389 in 2006. In 2005, under Bush, the numbers were even lower: 208,521.
Congress provides money for deporting 350,000 to 400,000 people a year of an estimated 10 million to 11 million who are in the country illegally, according to Napolitano, and the administration has decided to give priority to removing those who pose a danger or are national security threats.
Between 2010 and 2011, the numbers increased even further, to over 392,000 and 396,000, respectively. In 2011 alone, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency removed 45,938 recent border crossers and 96,529 migrants who were either repeat immigration violators or immigration fugitives.
But the lies and the blame game being played by Republicans continue to disguise the real problems. The reality is they have no solutions to the issue but can only play the blame game, as they have failed miserably to solve the issue in all of their years of running the country.
At the end of the day, the estimated 12 million undocumented are by their sheer numbers undeportable. The cost is not affordable, as Napolitano has pointed out. More important, they are already here, enmeshed in a healthy U.S. economy and making significant contributions in all sectors.
Republicans must confess that there is a level of racism involved here and if these were strictly European immigrants we were talking about, there would be no issue. But the thought of 12 million largely Brown and Black migrants must be a daunting one, especially if they all one day become U.S. citizens and can vote. Truly a scary thought to the GOP and Tea Partyites!
Obama should not be afraid to call the Republicans out on their con game and state the facts. The fact is that the borders are secure–now we need a rational solution to deal with the 12 million or so through comprehensive immigration reform that includes fast tracking sponsorship applications in the backlogged system; more work visas added to different categories of employment; a plan that would allow young, educated migrants to become part of the American Dream; and the requirement to learn English if necessary of their parents so they can obtain a work permit and travel document to legally live in this country.
That’s not de facto amnesty, it’s a real solution!
The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.