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11 Million Immigrants Hit by Double Whammy of Two-Party Hypocrisy. By Roger Algase

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Update, December 23, 11:48 am:

The link to the Guardian article discussed below dealing with border militarization is:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/21/obama-immigration-reform-unfinished-business

Also see Julia Preston's December 22 NY Times article about Obama's relentless ongoing deportations: Amid Steady Deportation, Fear and Worry Multiply Among Immigrants.

Update, December 23, 5:32 am:

It is not only 11 million unauthorized immigrants who are affected by the double whammy of hypocrisy evident in the House Republicans refusal to consider any legalization bills, combined with President Obama's refusal to grant large scale relief from deportation through administrative action, as described below. A December 21 article in the Guardian also provides details about the hardship and suffering experienced by 15 million people affected by the administration's policy of militarizing the Mexican border, something which has been much less widely reported.

In his article: America's biggest unfinished business in 2013: immigration reform, the Guardian's Matthew Campanella writes:

"The effort to pass immigration reform legislation in 2013 was not only a failure, but also showed a profound lack of concern for the safety and well-being of the people living in the border region. The current focus on militarization in an insulting and ominous foreboding into the future of the border region and shows that Congress is out of touch with the needs of the 15 million people who live and work there..."


He also condemns the final version of the Senate passed CIR bill (S. 744) which, among other border militarization provisions, hands over $43 billion in tax dollars to private defense contractors, stating:

"The continued focus on the failed militarization strategy shows that Congress is more interested in lining the pockets of private defense contractors than in improving the lives and safety of the Americans who live in the border region." (Emphasis added.)

The focus on militarizing the border is just another example of the hypocrisy in both parties that is blocking reform which would actually better the lives of tens of millions mainly Latino, Asian and black immigrants and US citizens, instead of merely continuing or aggravating the police state repression at the root of our current immigration system.


Update, December 22, 6:27 am:

A December 21 article in The Hill quotes Harry Reid as predicting that John Boehner will allow the House to pass immigration reform in 2014. See: Reid: Boehner will cave in on immigration reform next year.

thehill.com/news/senate/193805-reid-boehner-will-deal-on-immigration

However, the same article also states that the House's bigot-in-chief, (my phrase) Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), is still leading a group of Tea Party members in a movement to kill any House reform bill, in order to avoid going to conference with the Senate at all costs.

Nor does The Hill's article contain anything new about whether a House immigration bill or bills, if there are any, would include legalization for 11 million unauthorized immigrants.

There is still good reason to believe, therefore, that the House's "piecemeal" strategy is only a tactic to avoid doing anything about legalization, while creating an illusion that Republicans are also interested in immigration "reform".

But without legalization, what is "reform", except for tinkering around the edges with a few more visas here (skilled and agricultural workers) and a few less visas there (no more Latin American or Asian siblings of USC's, and no more diversity lottery green cards for Africans)?

Thus, the immigration reform hypocrisy in both parties continues, with the Republicans continuing to claim to support reform while blocking legalization, and with Obama refusing to extend relief from deportation beyond that which he has already granted, while blaming the Republicans alone for the fact that he himself has kicked out almost 2 million people since he became president.

My original post follows:

POLITICO's December 20 article entitled: Obama renews call for Senate immigration bill highlights the dilemma that 11 million immigrants who are hoping for reform but being shortchanged by both parties find themselves in.

Somewhat misleadingly, the article starts off by giving the impression that the biggest issue in immigration reform is whether to adopt the Senate "comprehensive" approach, which was passed last June, or the House "piecemeal" approach, consisting of a series of "small bore" bills in committee, none which has ever been voted on.

POLITICO focuses on Obama's supposed about face away from agreeing to work with the House on "piecemeal" legislation in one of his recent statements, back to support of the Senate's comprehensive approach.

The article states:

"Obama spent much of the summer and fall calling for the House to take up the Senate legislation, then, during an interview at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council said he was fine with the House passing a series of immigration bills."


POLITICO continues:

"Obama's return to putting pressure on House Republicans to pass a comprehensive immigration bill comes as the White House is facing more pressure from immigration reform activists to order the administration to use more discretion in reducing the number of deportations.
"

But the issue is not whether to do reform comprehensively or to do it piecemeal. The issue is whether the House intends to pass, or even consider, any immigration reform legislation at all. So far, there is no sign that it does, and unless and until that changes, "piecemeal" is nothing more than a phony excuse for doing nothing.

But even if the House Republicans finally vote on or even pass a few "piecemeal" reform bills, what good would this accomplish if these bills fail to deal with the heart of reform, namely legalization or equivalent relief from deportation for 11 million people? And there is no sign that any of the House "piecemeal" bills rumored to be under consideration so far would grant this relief to more than, at the most, possibly a small handful of DREAMERS.

Therefore, by emphasizing his original support for the Senate bill, which provides for legalization (and an eventual pathway to permanent residence and citizenship) for 11 million unauthorized immigrants, Obama is not ipso facto withdrawing any offer he may have previously made to work with the House on incremental legislation. Instead, he is calling attention to the fact that, in the words of Joe Biden, as also quoted in POLITICO's article, House Speaker John Boehner is "unwilling to let the House speak" on immigration reform at all.

The president's "return" to boosting the Senate's CIR bill does not mean that he is reneging on his promise to work with the House. Instead, it should be taken as an indictment of the House's use of the fake "piecemeal" shell game as a cover for blocking reform entirely.

But is this all there is to the immigration reform story? Not exactly. POLITICO also brings up the issue of Obama's record number of deportations, as also mentioned above.

The article states:

"On Tuesday, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency released a report showing that during fiscal year 2013 the US deported 368,644 people, two thirds of whom were apprehended at the border. According to ICE, 98 percent of people deported met one of the agency's civil enforcement priorities."

And there we have the real story - of 11 million mainly Latino, Asian and black immigrants caught between House Republicans who have the legislative power to stop the deportations but are only pretending to take up reform, and a Democratic president who has the administrative power to stop, or at least significantly reduce, the deportations, but is pretending that he lacks this power.

11 million immigrants are therefore caught in a double whammy of hypocrisy, cynicism and inaction by both parties. The president is right to call the Republicans out for their "do nothing" obstruction, but he can no longer avoid being called out for his own role in keeping the deportation meat-grinder running at full speed.

That is, if the media seriously gets on his case, which has not yet happened. The most significant sentence in the POLITICO article is the final one:

"Obama was not asked about the deportations during his press conference."

11 million immigrants, their families, and the great majority of Americans in both parties who support real immigration reform would like to know why not.

(Note: I am no longer providing links to POLITICO articles, since none of the links seem to work. These articles can easily be accessed by going to politico.com and clicking on the title.)




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Updated 12-23-2013 at 11:47 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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