“‘The Time is Also Now’ to Stop Arbitrary Deportations and stop militarizing the Border”
DRM’s Response to State of the Union Address from President Obama’s & Sen. Rubio’s
The DREAM Action Coalition (DRM) welcomes the new tone and call for bipartisan action on immigration. Indeed, it is hard not to be inspired and hopeful to hear Obama say “Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents…[of] hopeful immigrants” and then elaborate on a pathway to “earned citizenship”. This positive rhetoric, however, must be backed up with actions; this means the President must take responsibility for his enforcement policy that is seeing record number of deportations. That is why the DREAM Action Coalition is urging President Obama to stop the deportation and grant deferred action to undocumented immigrants who have no violent criminal records.
President Obama’s positive rhetoric cannot erase the fact that he talked about the same “border security” that has become favorite talking point of Republicans. Any bill which gets Obamas signature cannot allow those on the right wing of the immigration debate like Jan Brewer to obtain a veto power over issuing citizenships as many worry this bill may have. While it will ultimately be up to Congress to craft this bill, the President cannot sit idly by as the Republicans place a Trojan horse in the bill.
We must also deal with the reality that it was Obama’s administration has deported immigrants faster than any other administration: it was Janet Napolitano, Obama’s pick for Secretary of Homeland Security, who publicly defended the entire ordeal of the attempting deportation of Erika Andiola’s mother. And the President should not just highlight a DREAMer to make him look good publicly while not confronting the real stories of mix-families who are facing the nightmare of the broken immigration system.
Rubio has had some of the most sympathetic rhetoric on immigration we have seen from a prominent Republican as a national political figure. He speaks with great affection about his parents’ immigration story. At the same time, Rubio’s only legislative achievement stripped the Child Tax Credit from undocumented immigrant families, many which have citizen children who were the intended beneficiary of the Credit.
Similarly to Obama, Sen. Rubio talked about border security. Unlike Obama, however, he seemed to imply that any vague “permanent solution” for undocumented immigrants or other reforms would require us moving on “border security” first. The problem is that the border is as secure as it has ever been, with undocumented immigration at a net zero the jobs which attracted the immigrants are not as readily available.
The Latino and immigrant communities now have the voting and political organizing power to look at the DREAM Act as the floor of what they can get. Those rights below this new ceiling include LGBT rights such as gay marriages being recognized for immigration status, a Violence Against Women Act that includes more protections for battered, undocumented women and legal status for entire families that have been in the country for long enough to develop the deep roots we have in our communities.