A Look at the Immigration Review

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary Suddenly U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano announced that her department will review the 300,000 deportation cases currently in motion. According to the announcement, the number of deportation cases have clogged the immigration courts, is causing paperwork overloads for immigration personnel, and is targeting those who have not committed any serious crimes but are undocumented. According to Homeland Security, the agency was supposed to be nailing only violent undocumented offenders and not those who are illegally here.

I ask myself the question, “why all of a sudden is the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama doing this now?” He had plenty of time to do this in his first year, and he could have during the entire time changed the way immigration enforcement was conducted from day one. He chose not to do this. If anything we have seen more people arrested, jailed and deported for being in this country without documentation on a scale even greater than under former U.S. President George W. Bush. We have seen even greater enforcement of sanctions against employers who hire intentionally or inadvertently the undocumented with everything from tax audits to immigration raids to threats for employers to use Homeland Security’s E-Verify program “or else.”

So why this feeble attempt at temporarily halting or slowing down immigration deportations? The only answer I can come up with is to get the Latino vote. Yes, Latinos have been vilified, bashed around, threatened and a number have been jailed under the false premise of being “undocumented.” But Latinos can also vote, and the sheer size of the Latino vote can have a major impact on any election. And with how many Latinos feel now Obama may have a serious problem.

We must also add to the fact that as president Obama has done a fairly poor job. Unemployment is still at nearly ten percent officially, more people are in poverty than ever before (especially Latinos and African Americans—ironically the ones whose votes made Obama’s presidency possible), and to compound Obama’s problems America’s credit rating has been reduced for the first time in history. Regardless who is to blame for all of this, all of this happened on his watch. And all of this put together means Latinos are as much affected as the rest of Americans. All of this put together also makes Obama vulnerable to Republican challengers.

American history is full of examples where an incumbent president can be overturned in an election. The most recent examples I can cite are Ronald Reagan beating former President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and former President George H.W. Bush being stomped by an unknown named Bill Clinton in 1992. The newest thing is that future presidential elections may now be decided by vote blocs that can carry certain regions and whole states. And one of those blocs is the Latino vote. It seems that Obama is now getting, however lately, the idea that he needs to get the Latino vote. But I must warn Obama and all potential presidential candidates out there that this time the Latino vote is something that must be earned and will not be given.

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