Monday, December 20, 2010

After Senate's DREAM Act failure, Obama must step up to the plate

President Obama Must Take Immediate Steps to Protect 
the Rights of Immigrant Youth

Yes, I'm disappointed by the Senate’s failure to advance the DREAM Act. Congresspeople who voted against the DREAM Act betrayed our country’s core values of equality and human rights for children. They also squandered the energy and talent of thousands of youth who were raised in the US, have become leaders in their communities, and who want to commit their best to our nation. The Obama administration must not abandon these youth and their families.
The movement that brought the DREAM Act to this momentous vote was led by thousands of immigrant youth who worked unflaggingly in the service of our American values of justice and human rights. Their efforts inspired both the nation and the entire immigrant rights movement, a group which has faced increasing hostility as a result of the Obama administration’s harsh enforcement and detention policies. They deserve our gratitude, these young men and women, as does Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, who has fought for years to pass the DREAM Act.
However, the Obama administration must step up to the plate now. It must use its administrative authority immediately to ensure that all immigrant youth are able to continue to contribute to our communities and live safely in the United States. Obama must enact humane policies and end unjust enforcement programs that are tearing apart immigrant families and resulting in unnecessary and inhumane detention of thousands. Yes, I'm calling for a complete reversal of his policies. It is hard to believe that any president could be worse than George W. Bush, but Obama's policies on immigration actually have been.
I know that DREAM Act will one day prevail. We suffered a major setback last weekend, but I have no doubt that its time will arrive. 
Until it does, I insist that Obama do what he can to salvage a bad situation. I'm waiting for a change I can believe in.
I took some inspiration for this statement as well as some of the content from the statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center.


RealityZone said...

Great post.
O promised the Latinos he would address the immigration problem with in the first year of his office.
He lied.
He did not fight for this, as he did not fight for many other progressive movements.
Who will hold him accountable.

He gives the right all that they want.
He does not care what the left says.
So who will hold him accountable?

One Fly said...

I'm sorry your disappointed Billie. So many are. I don't believe or listen to these people much or else I'd be a lot more disappointed than what I am.

Edwin said...

The Founders wrote a constitution that makes the President the executor of the law, not a dictator. The most important CHANGE he has brought within his power is an end to the imperial Presidency of the Bush regime.

One of the most deranged and sick things that the imperial Presidency did is leave the people with the disempowering notion that passing law is the job of the President. That's not Obama's job (and the Consitution does not give him a single vote or even the ability to so much as move a bill out of committee).

That is your job. It's my job. The only thing we do to our movement when we point to the President is disempower and distract.

Don't you know that the "Secure Communities" contracts signed by the federal government with the states require the federal government to respond to local police requests? We make these sick arrangement worse by blaming the President, when it is our responsibility to end these local agreements. From my perspective, here are some effective next steps:

Border Explorer said...

Edwin, a careful reading of this post will verify that I'm not blaming Obama that DREAM did not pass (although a legitimate case for such an observation could probably be made). I am, however, strongly suggesting that Obama reverse his immigration and enforcement policies which, thus far in his presidency, have far outstripped those of the "Bush regime."

This week, for instance, we learn of the resumption of deportations to Haiti, despite the cholera epidemic! ["Haitians in New York Brace for Deportations to Resume" - ]

This is an executive--not a legislative--decision.

I will not begin to detail the data of overwhelming increases in deportations and workplace raids under the Obama admin. These are public record.

Of course we need to continue efforts to mobilize toward the eventual legislative passage of the DREAM Act, and I appreciate your link to a site that is organizing those efforts. This work is essential.

Nevertheless, in the meantime, there are executive steps that Obama can take to protect a vulnerable population of undocumented youth. Rather than pandering to the right wing by making a show of appearing to be "tough on illegal immigration and border security," I call on Obama to step up to the plate and do the right thing.

I appreciate your comment and the opportunity it provided me to clarify my intent in this post. I respect your efforts and join you in the important work of legislative action for passage of the DREAM Act.

RealityZone said...

FYI I live in Arizona.

Border Explorer said...

Statement from Rep. Gutierrez who, with CHC Leaders, met with President Obama on Immigration Next Steps"

"At the current rate, another 800,000 people will be deported by the time November 2012 comes around, which does nothing to fix our immigration system and rips apart communities and families and the very fabric of our society."