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Obama's Immigration Outlook: More Militarism, Abuse

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano’s version of “hope” and “change” on immigration means more of the same.
 
 
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Looks like Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano’s -- and Obama’s -- version of “hope” and “change” on immigration means pressing down on the undocumented with even more boots and guns, according to this interview on NPR.

Given the spikes in anti-immigrant hate crimes that continue spilling blood on our streets and given the colossal humanitarian crisis festering in detention centers throughout the country , such a militaristic approach to immigration policy is nothing less than immoral and inhumane. Such an approach begs the questions, “Where is the hope?” and “Is this what you meant by “change?”

If the Obama Administration continues along this deadly path, I predict that the immigrant rights movement and growing numbers of Latinos will start politically attacking Obama and his backers in DC in anticipation their support for policies that will worsen further the growing humanitarian crisis in detention. I also predict the Dems and their allies will counter with a modified version of the PR strategy used to promote McCain-Kennedy: focus media on legalization while avoiding or simply paying minimal lip service to detention, raids enforcement and other issues involving the most vulnerable.

In a such a dangerous climate, a climate in which economic decline worsens the undocumented condition -- death in jail, hate crimes, death in deserts, daily doses of dehumanizing media -- it is our duty to reject as extremely dangerous and in the most forceful terms any of the “smart enforcement” and other militaristic language and policy used by Napolitano, GOP & Dems and some “immigrant rights advocates.” Without a powerful pushback against these powerful interests who claim to be “liberal” and “progressive” on immigration reform, their institutional advantages -- government bully pulpit & policy leadership, massive foundation funding for polls, media work and even blogging, media predisposition to be DC-centric -- will again push non-legalization issues into the gulag of neglect and normalization of the nefarious things we’re seeing in the treatment of the undocumented.

So, beware: ”hope” and “change” are here.

Roberto Lovato, a frequent Nation contributor, is a New York-based writer with New America Media.

 
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