Immigrant Advocates Say Immigration Enforcement Worse Under Obama

New America Media, News Report , Marcelo Ballvé Posted: Mar 09, 2010

Prominent immigrant advocates launched their most sharply worded public critique yet of the Obama administration’s immigration policy.

Advocates who spoke at a press conference Monday in Washington, D.C. angrily pointed to statistics that showed a significant acceleration in immigration enforcement over President Bush’s last year, with over 387,000 immigrants deported since Obama’s inauguration.

As a result, livelihoods were lost, local economies affected, and families split apart, the advocates said.

“These are the same enforcement practices that we marched against during the Bush administration,” said Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

On any given day, Salas added, over 32,000 immigrants are under detention in jails and prisons around the country awaiting deportation.

The advocates said they felt betrayed by an Obama administration that promised to take their concerns into account and then became more aggressive than its predecessor in cracking down on immigrants.

Brent Wilkes, executive national director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, a Latino civil rights group, recalled candidate Barack Obama’s promise at a LULAC event to reform the country’s immigration laws in his first year in office.

Wilkes said many LULAC members believed this promise, which hasn’t yet been fulfilled.

“But one thing they never believed in their wildest dreams is that President Obama would have a record like this, where he surpassed the Bush administration in deportations,” Wilkes said. “It is unconscionable to have over 387,000 deported in the first year of an Obama presidency, and our community is angry.”

A video of the event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. is available for streaming at C-Span 2 The advocates called on President Obama and Congress to halt deportations until the system gets an overhaul.

The press conference came on the same day President Obama was scheduled to meet with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an effort to nudge immigration legislation forward.

One of the presenters today was a schoolgirl named Beatriz whose family was targeted by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement inquiry. She tearfully described how federal agents trailed her in order to investigate her parents.

Wilkes said roughly 5.5 million U.S. citizen children nationwide have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant and that deportations inevitably lead to broken households.

“This administration seems proud to out-enforce the Bush administration,” added Pramila Jayapal, executive director of the Seattle-based OneAmerica group.

The advocates also contended that the immigration audits or “paper raids” that have replaced workplace raids under Obama are just as damaging to immigrant communities and the businesses that depend on them.

The advocates, part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement coalition, plan to join other advocacy coalitions as well as labor and faith groups in a pro-immigration march on Washington, D.C. March 21.

Page 1 of 1


User Comments

Rev. Colleen Chun on Mar 19, 2010 at 02:27:17 said:

When I visited New York, and read the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, it made me cry for my country. I am ashamed to be an American. Our economic structure which out sources factories and business to foreign countries because of cheaper and more lenient labor regulations has put us where we are today. Please connect the dots. Stop screaming about the law which is totally bogus and created by a Congress that through fear allowed a well organized scheme to rule the people of the United States. We call it "Homeland Security." Close our doors and keep ourselves fat and rich against the non-humans that live in other counties. That is what HS is all about.

What gives American's the right to look down on others? For all those who are happy about deportation...did you know that parents and children are separated if the child was born in the US? Connect the dots! What happens to these children? Many go into foster homes at your expense. You end up paying a great deal out of your tax dollars. But we need to save some of our build more prisons to house all the dysfunctional teens and adults we are creating.

I long to carry a passport that says citizen of Earth. I wish our world did not have divisions of countries, but that we all could see the world as it is...a wonderful, beautiful sphere of life spinning in the universe, third from the sun of our solar system.

Oh, if only we did not fear the unknown, but greet each other with respect and an open mind to learn from one another no matter their skin color.

soulshadow55 on Mar 16, 2010 at 14:27:05 said:

To MdeG's comments:

Nowhere it is written that everyone in the world should get whatever it is they want. You seem to say that everyone who wants to immigrate to the U.S. should be allowed to, whether legally or illegally. Yes, millions upon millions of people from across the globe want to come to the U.S. However, the U.S. cannot take in everyone. Our population has exploded in the past 20 years due to illegal immigration, refugees, and other sob story immigrants. That is why we have immigration laws, which should be followed and enforced. When you have only so much resources, housing, school slots, hospital beds, jobs, etc., some people will just not be able to immigrate. Just because you want to come to the U.S. doesn't mean that the government HAS to allow you to immigrant. That is a fact of life and will be for all time, not just in the U.S. but in Europe, Latin America, everywhere. Some people will just not be allowed to immigrate. There are thousands of people in front of you. That doesn't make the U.S. a bad country - it just shows that we are overrun with people who want to come legally and it will take time to process these people. Some people who want to come to the U.S. have criminal records in their home countries, should they allowed to immigrate? Some people have HIV and other chronic dieases. Should they be allowed to immigrate when they will probably be more of a burden on the health care system already choking from the massive amounts of illegal immigrants that already use the hospitals but don't pay?

And yes, the immigration process is expensive. But who is to say what is expensive for our government to charge during the immigration process? When you have millions and millions of people applying and only so many workers processing those applications, how much the goverment charges and how long it takes is up for judgment. Remember, our government is broke, we are running a deficit in the trillions of dollars so the fees for the immigration process are probably reflective of that.

Moreover, why is the immigration process a mess? Is is only because your family members cannot be processed in 2 months? That they actually have to go through the process before being admitted? That does not give people the right to illegally immigrate just because they feel the process "takes too long." Like someone else wrote: is it only "right and good" when the illegal immigrant wins? That illegal immigrants won't take no for an answer. Must we admit every human being on the earth?

Frankly, I'm surprised by Obama. I didn't think he had it in him. As the young people say: "you go boy!" I have a renewed respect for him for upholding the will of the U.S. citizens who voted him into office. See, when you are a U.S. citizen, the government is supposed to work for you. The majority rules. Your taxes pay their salaries, they are employed by you and what the majority demands is what they are supposed to do. That's the beauty of the Constitution. The majority of U.S. citizens will not stand for another amnesty no matter how many hispanics, Asians, Africans or others march. You can march until your feet fall off. Seven amnestys is enough - no more!

All illegal immigrants should be deported and barred from the country for 5 years. If you do not respect the laws of my country, I don't believe you should be allowed to stay and I don't believe that a child born to parents here illegally should be considered a U.S. citizen. I also think that workplace raids were a good thing and should be continued. We should use any and all means necessary to impress upon illegal immigrants (and their home countries) that the U.S. government is serious in its enforcement of its illegal immigration policy. Whether that be workplace raids, deportation, denial of in-state tuition, denial of social security numbers for illegal immigrants, very limited emergency medical care, denial of drivers licenses, no rental housing, no Dream Act and without a doubt NO AMNESTY.

Call me what you want but I see my country overrun by citizens of other countries who come here and take U.S. jobs, housing, education and medical care and I'm supposed to sit back and say "oh, isn't that wonderful." I see my tax dollars go to take care of the citizens of other countries who do not belong here but watch U.S. citizens suffer instead.

You say "ratchet up work on the wage and hour laws." For whom would these new higher wages benefit? Illegal workers? I thought you were supposed to be able to work in the U.S. if you were here illegally? Itsn't that what E-Verify is for - to make sure that all persons working in the U.S. are here legally and legally allowed to work. If you are here illegally, you are setting yourself up to be abused by employers. I don't mean that its right, but it does happen. Coming to the country legally would solve/prevent that situation.

Dave A on Mar 11, 2010 at 09:08:32 said:

The problem with illegal aliens is that they won't accept no for an answer.

Frank H on Mar 11, 2010 at 04:15:52 said:

To MdeG:
Thank you, you seem to undestand what is going on, it is very easy to say deport them, of course there is wrong to be here without documentation but definetely the solution is not to deport everybody. I think the proper way is to enforce the employment laws, that way people will stop staying.

MdeG on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:58:03 said:

To Carrie's comment:
For most people, there *isn't* a right way to come here. Applying as a legal immigrant, from many places, is crushingly expensive (months of pay for the application fee), and if you aren't rich or don't have close relatives here, your odds of acceptance are almost nil. Nobody will loan you the money. Coming w/o docs is somewhat more expensive, but your chances of getting here alive and finding work are over 50-50, so you can get a loan. Ordinary working folks basically *don't* have a "right way" to get here.

If you want to migrate for economic reasons, you basically can't do it.

The legal immigration system is a complete mess. This is not a result of the presence of undocumented folks, it's just the way things are. I know, I've got relatives in it right now, and it's very expensive, very slow, and very hard.

I loathe the raids. I don't feel safer knowing that my neighbors are afraid of that knock on the door in the middle of the night.

I think we should go for reform (YES, amnesty; I believe in the Jubilee!). Who I'd love to see as targets of enforcement are the abusive employers. Ratchet up work on the wage and hour laws, and we'll all be better off.

salihi rahman abdul on Mar 09, 2010 at 10:51:34 said:

i want to move from afghanistan because here is fighting my skill is a nurse i want to be start a nursing job in the united state,

Dave A on Mar 09, 2010 at 09:07:59 said:

“It is unconscionable to have over 387,000 deported in the first year". Why is it unconscionable to enforce the laws and do the will of the people? Isn't that what the USA is about, government of, for and by the people? I'm glad Obama is sticking to his word to help "those who PLAY BY THE RULES". let lawbreakers be put on notice that US citizens have had enough of illegal aliens and their self-entitled demands.

John Bigler on Mar 09, 2010 at 09:00:18 said:

If the immigrants are illegal they should be deported. This country is way too lax on interior enforcement. We have way too many illegal immigrants.

l00ker on Mar 09, 2010 at 08:03:36 said:

And guess what, it is going to get worse.

Carrie strong on Mar 09, 2010 at 07:57:25 said:

THank goodness they are deporting them there is a right way to come into the country and a wrong way do it the right way and sleep easier




Just Posted

NAM Coverage



Advertisements on our website do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of New America Media, our affiliates or our funders.