Monday, September 15, 2014

Jilted Once More on the Promise of Immigration Reform

Jilted Once More on the Promise of Immigration Reform
Posted on September 15, 2014 by Jimmy Franco Sr.
President Obama has stated that any action on immigration reform either legislatively or through any type of executive action will once again be postponed until the end of the year. The official reason given for yet another postponement in regard to resolving this pressing issue are the upcoming mid-term elections and the need to get Democrats elected. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was not even consulted nor informed of this decision by Obama before it went public. The real reason which Obama and other Democrats didn’t mention is the unprincipled need to distance themselves from the “taint” of immigration reform and  statements or actions that appear sympathetic to immigrants so as to not alienate xenophobic and anti-immigrant voters in the November elections. This political decision essentially confirmed that the priority for Obama’s Democrats is to cater to voters who are fervently opposed to immigrants and reform by not saying or doing anything that would harm their chauvinist “sensitivities” in order to win their votes. This so-called “pragmatic and Machiavellian” policy and action by the Democrats takes precedence in the real world over the political sensitivities of Latinos and the continuing harm being inflicted upon immigrants and their families due to a callous and broken immigration system. Immigration activists, their organizations and the eleven million undocumented persons within the country have been left standing alone at the altar holding a hollow Democratic proposal after having been jilted once again by the unfaithful suitor Obama with another one of his false promises. This political relationship between Obama’s Democrats and the Latino community resembles a deja vu scenario and is similar to an insincere groom once again making lame and repeated excuses to not show up at the church wedding in order to avoid making a final and decisive commitment which in this case is immigration reform.

A trail of broken promises has been followed by a loyal and abused flock
During the presidential campaign of 2008 enthusiastic crowds turned out in droves to support Obama’s candidacy as he energized prospective voters with his promises of a “new type of government” for the people, resources for much needed social programs and in particular education, a period of peace after years of warfare and a much needed reform of the flawed immigration system which adversely affected Mexican-American and other Latino communities. This campaign strategy worked as the majority of Latino voters want social change and overwhelmingly supported Obama’s religious-like rhetoric in the hope that he would follow through on his extravagant promises. With the passage of time the “yes we can” slogan soon began to have a shallow sound to it as not much progress was made toward changing the immigration system during Obama’s first term. Obama’s idealistic and faithful Latino constituency was told to keep voting for the Democrats and wait until after the mid-term elections of 2010 for the dangling promise to be fulfilled. Following this rhetoric, the same political line was declared to immigration activists and the undocumented that the promised land of immigration reform would once again be postponed until after the presidential elections of 2012. While it is true that Republicans have consistently blocked most efforts at immigration reform in congress, the 2013 legislative provisions proposed and agreed to by Democrats in S.744 were a farce. They primarily focused on the needs of corporate interests and their profits, were punitive in nature and substantially lacked any true aspects of reform that would resolve this century-old immigration issue in a humane and just manner. The proposed legislation contained within S.744 was approved by the Democratic members of the ‘Gang of Eight’ and was in essence an enforcement plan and an insult to the Latino community. Despite the harsh nature of this proposed bill the Republicans still rejected it. During his two terms in office Obama has been selective in ordering a few token executive action changes which he has ladled out to garner favorable publicity such as that which assisted the “Dreamers” or undocumented students brought to this country as children. However, such changes have been minor in nature and can be considered small tactical crumbs which were used to bait and string along Latino voters. The pattern of sugary “Pied Piper” promises made by Obama and his fellow Democrats to the faithful encompass 2008, 20010, 2012, 2013 and now 2014. Thus, any qualitative progress toward assisting the eleven million undocumented persons residing within the country by the Democrats has been minimal as Obama’s actions have primarily consisted of a lot of slick political rhetoric combined with an acceleration in deportations. This double speak has been consciously planned in order to get out the Latino vote and pacify those naive enough to continue believing the redundant and dishonest promises.

Obama’s scorecard on immigration consists of the good, bad and mostly ugly
We need to contrast these flowery, but false commitments and broken promises by Obama and his Democratic hucksters with the last six years of reality and factual practice. Over two million people have been deported by ICE under Obama’s executive orders and this massive removal of people was approved by the majority of Democrats with only a few Latino politicians raising their voices in dissent. Meanwhile, almost a half million adults and children have been locked up and deported during the last two years under Obama’s direction. Presently, while we are being told to wait until the end of the year for some executive action crumbs related to

Thousands of children have recently been arrested and deported
immigration, ICE is busy rounding up and deporting over 30 thousand undocumented persons per month while simultaneously ordering employers to fire tens of thousands of undocumented workers who do not possess the proper work documents thus leaving their families without any means of income. In addition, no immigration agents have been disciplined within the last ten years for their illegal use of force on immigrants. Obama has implemented executive action in regard to immigration with close to 18 billion dollars worth of increased military enforcement, mounting detentions, deportations, divided families and the growing use of captive-like immigrant guest workers without rights to replace the cheap labor of employees who have been deported. The scorecard on Obama’s actions related to immigration consist of a record-setting deportation policy which has surpassed George W. Bush and other past presidents. His few actions to enact actual reform need to be added up and contrasted with his negative actions in order to weigh the morality and principles of his promises with his actual deeds. These political actions by the Democrats which primarily emphasize enforcement and deportations have objectively capitulated to the restrictive immigration policy held by nativist Republicans which consists of rigid immigration enforcement within Latino communities and at the border, opposition to legalization, increasing funding for incarceration and deportations, and essentially maintaining the status quo of no reform or solution to the broken but profitable and business-friendly immigration system.

A deafening silence and lack of criticism by self-appointed leaders
While numerous Mexican-American and Latino organizations along with certain Latino politicians have applied political pressure on Obama and the Democrats in a sincere manner, there are also many Latino politicians and self-appointed ‘leaders’ in communities across the country who have tied their financial and political kites to the Democrats in exchange for their silence. These individuals and groups still remain faithful cheerleaders and as a part of the loyalist flock their political role is to mute and sugar-coat any criticisms of the dishonesty and failure of the Democrats in regard to fundamentally overhauling immigration policy. The loyal and quiet bleating by this strata of apologists continues to call for obediently following the presidential sheepherder while misleading and dragging along their constituents toward the political dead end of a non-solution to the issue of immigration reform. The unconditional loyalty of these Obama cheerleaders is rewarded with benefits such as invitations to conferences, meetings, awards, jobs, banquets, hugs, endorsements, funding and other career-enhancing condiments parceled out by el patron. Obama and the Democrats need such a loyal ‘Hispanic’ strata whose role consists of being a political buffer between his administration and the growing impatience of Latino communities who are demanding change. This “Hispanic’ strata also assumes the role of political contractors who are instructed to deliver votes at election time and pull the wool over the flock’s eyes in order to keep them in line. Latino politicians within the various states and in congress who are afraid to speak up and take a stand are objectively useless and are being dishonest with their constituents. The key question we now face is how many more political slaps do Latinos have to endure by the Democrats and their Malinche apologists within our ranks before people wise-up?

Two paths: more masochism or dignified and independent political action
The blind Obama loyalists will maintain that the Democrats are the only alternative to the serial abusers of the Republican Party since a viable third political party that truly represents the interests of working and minority people does not exist within this country. However, counter-posing the outright chauvinistic abuse by the Republicans to the relationship of alternating hugs-and-slaps from the Democrats, and then rationalizing that the less-abusive relationship is better than nothing is an ideologically bankrupt and harmful conclusion. Any domestic abuse counselor will confirm this as common sense. Rather than continue to endure masochistic treatment at the hands of the Democrats there is an alternate political road. The principle of maintaining one’s political independence and organizing independent political action is not a new concept or path. Such a political platform and independent course is urgently needed within our society at this point in history as a viable third party alternative which is available in other countries is lacking here. Building independent political action requires a broad consensus on strategic objectives such as a thoroughgoing reform of the immigration system and combining these with the use of independent tactics to achieve them. Tactical forms of organization such as community and student organizations, progressive unions and broad-based coalitions can utilize various forms of struggle to achieve their political aims such as demonstrations, rallies, petitions, boycotts and utilizing the vote in a conditional manner to support issues and expose, punish or reward vacillating politicians. This independent stance and political action needs to be combined with ongoing political education within communities and the application of political pressure on government and politicians in order to hold them accountable. Public exposure and criticisms need to be leveled at politicians when they uphold an incorrect position or refuse to take an open and principled stand on issues. Such independent political action particularly needs to be utilized against certain Latino politicians who are misleaders of their communities as they remain silent on key issues or opportunistically refuse to raise criticisms or take a strong public stand. The path of independent political action was utilized during the struggles of the 1930’s Great Depression to improve working conditions and to win the right to organize unions despite the indifference and hostility of the two major parties. This same political independence in tactical actions and organizational form were also widely used during the Civil Rights period to achieve objectives as initially both parties supported segregation and opposed integration and equal rights for minorities. The efforts of these politically independent struggles opened up the door to achieving justice and progress for millions of people. Thus, this type of broad-based political platform and action which is independent of the two parties has been proven historically successful. The resistance movements of the past which were led by grass roots organizations offer us some vital lessons and a path to win victories in the present as long as we utilize and apply the tactics of these historical struggles to our conditions in a creative and non-sectarian manner.

Copyright, 2014: Jimmy Franco Sr
Facebook: Jimmy Latinopov
Twitter @xicanomc

About Jimmy Franco Sr.
Jimmy Franco Sr. is the moderator and writer of the blog site: "A Latino Point of View in Today's World"
View all posts by Jimmy Franco Sr.
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