First the President of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Janet Murguia, decided to call President Barack Obama “Deporter in Chief.” On the 5th of April, an editorial in The New York Times criticized Obama’s policy on immigration and asked him to do something once and for all.
But readers of this column have read the “Deporter in Chief” concept used to describe President Obama —in 2013—, and Obama’s “unfulfilled promises to the Hispanic voter” concept throughout most of the current Administration tenure.
The important thing is not that I said it before. What is important and sad is that influential forces such as NCLR —the largest and well funded non-profit organization dedicated to promote the Hispanic agenda— and the almighty New York Times have just decided to draw attention to the immigration issue in relation to the President’s broken promises to an electorate that gave him 75% of its votes.
The president of change and hope can become, in the eyes of the emerging Hispanic voter, a run-of-the-mill politician unable to keep his promises. One can argue that the Hispanic voter lacks the political machinery and economic power to support certain agendas.
Can NCLR or The New York Times be more effective or compelling than 2 million broken families and millions of inmigrant tears?
Can an editorial be more meaningful than the anguished faces of 5,000 children in foster care due to the deportation of their parents? Who can count on an Administration too busy doing damage control and playing the blaming game?
On the other side of the aisle, the Republican Party is a victim of its own racial anxieties: a bunch of blindfolded politicians hitting the immigration piñata while looking the other way.
What to do? There are six points in the Times’ editorial that the Obama Administration can implement immediately.
2.Protecting the Dreamers is great, but who protects the parents of the Dreamers?
3.Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol should make noncriminals and minor offenders the lowest deportation priorities
4.End programs like Secure Communities that enlist the local police as immigration enforcers .
5.The administration should abandon quota-based enforcement driven by the urgent need to fill more than 30,000 detention beds every day.
For Obama, stopping deportations and changing the current immigration system should not be if, but when.
Avendaño is Executive Editor of el El Tiempo Latino