Presente.Org, one of the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy groups, is asking its members for input on a formal plan to withdraw active support for the president's re-election, in light of his continued failure to exert executive power to defer the deportation of a million DREAM Act candidates.
The action comes on the heels of a letter delivered to Obama earlier this month by 22 Democratic senators. who begged him to draw the same line in the sand against deportations, for humanitarian reasons. Obama said No, he couldn't. Not without the Republicans. He invited Hispanic leaders and celebrities to schmooze and absorb his charm offensive in the White House on Thursday. As much as he is totally cool with the DREAM act... well, without Republican cooperation -- No, he can't. He is using the same strategy as that long and winding road to the repeal of DADT. Without that almighty bipartisan support, it would not get done, even though he could have gotten it done a lot sooner and saved a lot of gay troops a lot of heartache.
From the Presente email:
"Since the DREAM Act was defeated last December, the over one million young people who would qualify have become more vulnerable than ever to immigration raids, deportations, and separation from their families. In fact, DREAMers, undocumented immigrant youth who came to the US as children, are actively being served deportation orders even though the President has said they are not an enforcement priority. At the same time, his administration has been deporting non-criminal immigrants at a higher rate than the Bush administration.President Obama has promised to fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and has been a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act. He has repeatedly called on Congress to act on these issues, and Congress has repeatedly failed. We, along with numerous elected officials, religious leaders, and community groups believe the President must use his executive powers to draw a line in the sand, and that that line should be the deportation of DREAM-eligible students.President Obama has said that he does not have the authority to suspend the deportations of a select group like the DREAMers, but that's simply not the case. For this reason, Presente.org is considering a campaign through which our members would threaten to not actively work on the reelection campaign unless the President uses his Executive Power to stop the deportation of DREAM eligible youth. Often, the President has asked us to force his hand in advancing progressive policies. We think now is the time to take him up on that proposal, but we need to know whether you are behind us." (Yes I am and yes we can).
The DREAM Act, passed last year in the still-Democratic House but defeated in the Senate, would allow undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the country before they were 16 and have been living in the U.S. continuously for five years to be eligible for conditional non-immigrant status.
|Thursday's White House Photo-Op -- DREAM on, La Gente|
Presente joins a growing number of Latino leaders and groups becoming increasingly vocal in their disappointment with Obama's failure to get immigration reform done. Despite paying lip service ad nauseum and ad infinitum to changing the system, and insisting he is committed to an overhaul, his Administration deported a record 393,000 immigrants last year. That is more than during the Bush Administration. Other enforcement tactics during his tenure also have drawn criticism in the immigrant and Hispanic communities. He recently okayed the use of Drone aircraft to catch people at the border.
Over the weekend, according to AP, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped rally Hispanic voters to support Obama during the 2008 campaign, told a Chicago crowd he was not sure he could back Obama in 2012 if the president did not step up immigration changes. This, in the President's home state!
Si, se puede, Obama hollowly promised the crowds of Spanish-speaking supporters during his campaign. Just not right now. And that huge, powerful demographic is talking right back. No nos mienten.
P.S. All I had heard about this story in the mainstream media was the fact that Eva Longoria came out to meet the press from the Oval Office wearing false eyelashes and a skintight dress. Other attendees fled through back entrances, but as the president's new official immigration adviser, Eva talked about how much Obama cares. If Donald has spokesmodels, why can't Barack?
|New Immigration Adviser, Pictured at a White House State Dinner: A Tough DREAM Act to Follow|