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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

In the Presidential Election the Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

I had a very spirited exchange in the comment section to my friend and colleague Roger Algase's recent blog.  Roger is an excellent attorney, and much smarter than I, so I appreciate the opportunity to voice a response to his always well written blogs.  We mostly agree on both the facts and the law, but there appears to be one sticking point where we simply can't get over the hump.  It relates to the upcoming Presidential election.


I'll take the liberty of paraphrasing Mr. Algase, and Roger please feel free to chime in with a response, as your thoughts are always welcomed and appreciated.  In sum, Mr. Algase is throwing his support behind President Obama's reelection campaign as a result of his justifiable fears that the eventual Republican nominee will be adversely detrimental to the cause of immigration reform, and most importantly, immigrant rights.  Of this there is no disagreement.


Our disagreement is principally over whether it is short sighted to turn our backs to President Obama, akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I argue that, to the contrary, supporting President Obama's reelection will in the long term retard the advancement of immigration reform and immigrant rights, that President Obama's administration is the one making the water dirty, and that they all need to be thrown out, dirty suds and all.  


Although Mr. Algase points out that President Obama is the lesser of two evils (this point is debatable), this does not in any way detract from the fact that Obama's immigration enforcement and deportation policies ARE EVIL.  


Should Obama win reelection immigration reform will continue to be ignored, and the Administration will deport another million immigrants. As such, supporting Obama's campaign for his second term sends the message to the Democratic party that they can continue to turn their back to immigration reform, while ignoring the torture, rape, abuse, and in some instances murder of immigrants unlawfully detained in immigration detention, while the Administration advances the goal of deporting more immigrants than at any time in history, enforcing racist and homophobic policy positions in the process.


Because the Democrats (rightly) believe that the immigration reform vote will come regardless of their (in)action(s), there is no motivation for the party to champion the issue after the election.  The only way that this reality will change is if the Democrats lose the CIR vote to a third party candidate, and subsequently the Presidency in 2012.  If this does happen, in 2016 the Democrats will finally be forced to understand the significance of effectuating fair and humane immigration reform, championing the issue, and putting an end to the destruction of hundreds of thousands (millions) of families through deportation, while taking meaningful steps to clean up the abuses permeating the immigration enforcement and detention system.


That is called foresight.


If Obama wins reelection while garnering the immigration reform electorate, I can tell you with 100% certainty that there will be another million+ immigrants deported, and we will be no closer to immigration reform than when he promised to address the issue in his first 100 days in office.


The point being, supporting the Deporter in Chief enables this President, and his party to ignore the very issue that he absolutely needs to maintain the office.


Respectfully, I implore all of you to stop being the enabler.  Do not support this President.


If it means that we will see no immigration reform in the next four years under a Republican administration, so be it, because I guarantee you one thing, we won't ever see it in an Obama Presidency, and there is no possible way that a Republican can do worse than what we have seen under Obama.


To be blunt, Obama has done more damage to immigrants, the cause of immigration reform, and to the Constitution than any President in history, and that specifically includes George W. Bush.


Needless to say, labeling Obama as a disappointment, or a failure, is the understatement of the millennium.


So I ask you this, how many immigrants need to be rounded up, and thrown into solitary confinement, where they are raped, tortured, abused, and murdered before the issue is no longer an inconvenience to the goal of reelecting a man merely because he is the lesser of two evils.


Vote third party in 2012, and give a voice to the voiceless.

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Comments

  1. Roger Algase's Avatar
    A very powerful argument from Matt, who is not only as smart as any lawyer can be, but is deeply committed to the cause of immigrant rights and immigration reform. I will not answer fully now, but will no doubt have more to say about this in my next blogging, which might not be until next week because of the H-1B rush this week.

    However, I think we need to ask ourselves why the Hispanic and other minority immigrant communities find themselves with such a terrible choice in this year's election. Why is there no presidential candidate, no major political party, that is willing to take the immigration issue head on, even out of just crass self interest in getting support from America's fastest growing ethnic community?

    Obviously, immigrants and their supporters are not making their voices heard. They are not even speaking with one voice.

    Uniting and taking action can work. It got Lou Dobbs off the air. It can do much more than that. It can bring about CIR and an end to mass deportations and the culture of "no" for legal immigration petitions and work visas. Look at what the Tea Party was able to do with its fake populist, corporate driven, Koch Brothers backed agenda.

    Could not a "Tequila Party" accomplish a great deal more? I know this might be agreeing with Matt's argument. The Tea party had to lose some elections in order to win many others. Immigration supporters might have to do the same. But we must not forget that the stakes are very high.

    Do any of us want to be writing comments in future editions of ID looking back nostalgically to the Obama days when "only" a million people were being deported every four years? How about a million deportations a year under President Romney or President Santorum?

  2. Kathleen Hansen's Avatar
    I agree 100% with Matthew on this issue - and the proof is in the charade the administration is currently touting as "immigration enforcement priorities" aka, prosecutorial discretion. Obama needs to answer for all of the final deportation orders issued under his command from the day he took over as president. Final deportation orders given to, possibly, hundreds of thousands of long-term, settled, undocumented immigrants whom did not have any criminal record, and were in the process of being removed only because they were encountered by ICE. Do you know why the 9th circuit asked DHS for guidance regarding prosecutorial discretion? It is because in 2010, they decided a case that asked the Obama administration to grant an indefinite continuance to await changes in immigration law, to a woman that had lived in this country for 20 years and found herself in deportation proceedings as a result of a collateral arrest by ICE. The response from Obama's DOJ was scathing and they wrote: "Petitioner's proposal is absurd as she is bound by the current laws of Congress and not by future CIR which may never come to pass. It is hard to believe that petitioner would seriously argue for such an absurd proposal". Well, well, well, look at Obama 2012 arguing for indefinite continuances for undocumented immigrants in the form of "administrative closure"! Not so ridiculous, spacious or absurd in an election year, is it?
  3. Mario Kitty's Avatar
    Well until the last sentence I agreed with Matt. But you cannot vote third party. A third party vote will assure 0bama another disastrous term for not just immigrants but for the cause of liberty and justice for all working Americans!
  4. Randall Drew's Avatar
    Dear Matthew Kolken, I understand your frustration -- and I almost agree that comprehensive immigration reform might be more likely to pass with a Republican President (in an only Nixon could go to China sort of way).

    In fact we almost got your wish in 2000 when Ralph Nader running as a Green gave us President George W. Bush -- nearly got immigration reform -- but at what cost?

    But your statement "... because I guarantee you one thing, we won't ever see it in an Obama Presidency, and there is no possible way that a Republican can do worse than what we have seen under Obama." is dead wrong. You lack a Tea Party imagination for machine gun turrets, and moats filled with 'gators ... think about Jan Brewer, Russell Pearce or Joe Arpaio being appointed Director of ICE before you make such foolish boast.

    The way this country treats immigration is scandalous but it could and likely would be worse under a Romney administration. There is more to US politics than immigration policy of course and even if your prediction that the Republican hold on the WH would only be four years (unlikely) would a war with Iran be a suitable trade-off? How about more tax cuts for the rich and cuts to social welfare programs and infrastructure investments?
    Be mad but don't let your anger cloud your decision making.
  5. UnSTEMployed's Avatar
    Interesting blog post.

    "Although...President Obama is the lesser of two evils (this point is debatable), this does not in any way detract from the fact that Obama's immigration enforcement and deportation policies ARE EVIL."

    Indeed, and I agree that "supporting the Deporter in Chief enables this President, and his party to ignore the very issue" after the election.

    And it is not just immigration that is of concern.

    Per the post: "To be blunt, Obama has done more damage...to the Constitution than any President in history, and that specifically includes George W. Bush."

    Supporters of President Obama and his party have clearly fallen asleep since Obama took the reins from President Bush, or, for some reason, have given Obama's Constitional trangressions a pass. I truly think a Romney presidency, should it happen, would wake those supporters up and force them to look at the issues again. (Of course, I then anticipate Romney's supporters to support Obama policies if done by the hand of Romney.)

    It really bothers me that so many Bush haters, now support the same policies (or worse!) done by the hand of Obama.

    We need the disruptive politics of a strong third party, preferably without the corporate ties that defines the Democratic and Republican parties. Enough of the extreme politics of the middle!
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