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Bloggings On Deportation And Removal

by Matthew Kolken

2012: The Road to Immigration Nowhere

I’m sorry but I need to vent. I just read a blog by a former President of AILA and it got my dander up. The question posed was what can we expect in the world of immigration in 2012?

The short answer: absolutely nothing.

As was pointed out, next year is an election year, and the Democrats are scrambling to keep both the Senate, and the White House. It isn't looking good.

President Obama once said that he would rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term President. I think in 2012 he is going to get half his wish, but for the sake optimism, let's just call that wish half-full. I predict this because from an immigration perspective President Obama's first term has been God-awful.

Obama has completely failed to provide ANY leadership whatsoever on the issue of immigration reform, turning his back to the Hispanic electorate the moment he unpacked his bags in the White House, and adopting the most aggressive deportation policy in the history of the United States.

This has resulted in sharp disapproval from Hispanics, the largest and fastest growing voting block in the country. The Pew Hispanic Center has just released a study that shows that 59% of all Latinos disapprove of Obama’s deportation policies. Obama won the Hispanic vote by nearly a 2-1 margin in 2008. I wonder how many of these voters will turn out next November.

Obama’s failure to lead on the issue of immigration reform resulted in the Democrats squandering a two-year super-majority. Immigration reform could have been passed without a hiccup in the President’s first 100 days in office. This is what he promised. So why did it happen? Obama expended every ounce of his political capital on his signature health-care legislation, throwing Hispanics under the bus in the process. Specifically, in order to get the votes required for passage, Obama lied to the Hispanic Caucus who was threatening to oppose Obamacare unless racist and anti-immigrant provisions were removed. His promise to the Caucus: to aggressively work with Congress to pass immigration reform. How did that work out?

So for those of you keeping score at home, Obama’s immigration reform efforts to date principally feature a lunch with Shakira and a Desperate Housewife. Change you can believe in?

The apologists respond with the fact that the Administration has recently introduced a “common sense immigration enforcement” policy involving the employment of a prosecutorial discretion memo. The reality is that this is nothing more than a public relations stunt. I know of only a handful of cases nationwide where prosecutorial discretion is being favorably exercised, and those cases are usually attached to embarrassing media coverage of individuals facing deportation to countries they haven’t been to since they were young children. The silent majority receive little, if any, reprieve from the Administration’s 400,000 deportations per year mandate.

As for the Administration’s recent constitutional challenge to Arizona’s immigration law, this President should be careful throwing stones in his glass White House. Persistent human rights violations permeate the Obama Administration’s handling of immigrants.

Here is the bottom line that the Obama apologists don’t want you to know: This President is the worst thing that has happened to the cause of immigrant rights since Eisenhower put Japanese Americans in internment camps. Only Obama’s internment camps are euphemistically called immigration detention centers, but just like Eisenhower’s these camps are being used to abuse immigrants and deny them of their constitutionally protected right to due process.

So here we are, facing the dawn of a new year that will bring us down the road to immigration nowhere. Thankfully, we have the vacationer-in-chief to guide us down it, leaving a trail of broken promises, lies, and half-truths.

So let us all raise a glass and wish that in 2012 Barack Obama gets half his wish ending his one and only term as President.

Happy New Year?

About The Author

Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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