Governor Pat Quinn announced on May 4th that Illinois would no longer participate in the Secure Communities program (See 5-1-11 post), leading the way for states like California and Massachusetts to pursue means of opting out of the program.
Obama is trying to act tough on immigration. However, as states begin to protest the terms of SComm and as the number of deportations increases, it’s time for the administration to take stock of the high toll its policies are having on individuals as well as the nation’s “secure” communities.
Since Obama took office, there have been 800,000 deportations, a 70% increase from the rate of deportations under Bush. And no, they are not all “illegals”.
To put that in perspective, that means almost 1 in 10 undocumented individuals was removed from our shores, leaving children and families behind. In a large state like California, about 1 in 10 school-aged (and likely U.S. Citizen) children has at least one undocumented parent.
Another way to think about: it is the equivalent of shipping all the residents of San Francisco out of the country. And, to any conservatives who consider that a gleeful prospect, the equivalent of deporting the entire population of Jacksonville, Florida or Fort Worth, Texas.
It’s not just bad for immigrants. As SComm is rolled out across the country, state and local governments are trying to get out. Local governments and law enforcement are forced to act as immigration agents, increasing distrust of law enforcement in immigrant communities. What does “public safety” mean under SComm?
This is all happening under the watch of a President who received overwhelming support from Latino and other immigrant communities and who continues to state that he supports immigration reform.
It’s time for President Obama to stop trying to prove himself to his political opponents and support immigration legislation that will keep families together and communities truly safe.
Hispanic Caucus calls on Obama to freeze controversial immigration enforcement program, Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2011
Resistance to the federal Secure Communities fingerprint sharing program is also coming from Latino political leaders. Yesterday the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked President Obama to freeze the controversial enforcement program.
San Francisco to stop detaining undocumented immigrants, FOX News, May 7, 2011
Short of a full opt-out of SComm, San Francisco announced that they will release undocumented immigrants so that they avoid Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (immigration) detention. Providence, RI and Chicago are considering similar policies.
Florida Struggles with Arizona’s Immigration Plan, New York Times, May 4, 2011
As the Florida Senate passes a “watered down” version of Arizona’s immigration law, the state’s conservatives begin to consider the less-than-appealing economic and political reality of having a tough immigration enforcement law.
Event organizers say such laws threaten the health care of a vulnerable minority community. Anti-immigrant law supporters have argued that such legislation saves states millions of dollars in health care services that should be reserved for legal residents. Opponents argue that such laws have no place in the medical community because they overstep their power and interfere with a medical physicians’ professional code of ethics.