“When communities are terrorised by immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel, when all that’s happening, the system just isn’t working, and we need to change it.” – Barack Obama, 2008
What is Obama’s immigration legacy? It’s 2014, and boy has he done a lot since that speech.
While congress is hard at work setting the galactic record for sustained inaction, President Obama is botching up a huge opportunity to fix one of America’s longest-churning crises.
Not only has President Obama broken all records for deportations and detentions, he has deported more people than almost all presidents in U.S history. Combined.
Obama has aggressively expanded Secure Communities – a very controversial program that turns local police into immigration enforcers. Secure Communities have expanded racial profiling of entire Latino communities.
The overwhelming majority of those imprisoned and deported are Latino. Obama’s immigration legacy also includes making Latinos the largest group in Federal U.S prison, with over two million immigrants jailed since Obama took office.
For more than six years, Obama’s policies have been separating families. In 2012, an estimated 150,000 children were separated from their parents. Immigration raids on schools, in churches, and in thousands of immigrant homes have caused phycological trauma and family devastation.
President Obama has also increased the militarisation of the border deserts. Dozens are being killed by border patrol agents. Not a single agent has been charged to date.
The reality is harsh for anyone out there seeking a better life. At least our own Prime Minister is more direct – his campaign promise on asylum and immigration was simple and callous: “stop the boats.”