From the voices of Latinos facing the injustice:
by Felipe Matos, Presente.org
In 2008, I was one of the many who hit the streets, knocked at doors and stood under the hot Florida sun to help President Obama get elected. After two and a half years, what did I get from my hard work? 1 million deportations and a total devastation of my community! President Obama is the president that has deported more people in our nation’s history –with the grand majority posing no threat to society at all.
When I turn on the TV or read the paper about Secure Communities (S-COMM), a controversial program that forces local police to share information about the immigration status of people they detain (before conviction), I cannot react any other way but to fight back. Today, Presente.org and several local organizations helped to organize a day of action against S-COMM in 6 cities across the United States (Chicago, Miami, Charlotte, Houston, Boston and Atlanta) and we delivered 35,000 signatures that were collected in just 5 days to the Obama for America’s campaign offices.
In Miami, I met Reyna, the mother of four children, whose husband was deported for driving without a license in Homestead, FL. Now, she is raising her children by herself and feeling hopeless to the fact that she can also be stopped and deported because she doesn’t have a license. Her tears are a reminder of the sense of betrayal that Latinos who voted for Obama have been feeling.
President Obama’s deportations and program such as the controversial S-COMM have alienated the support from the Latino community. 56% of the 1.2 million Latinos that voted in 2008 for Obama in Florida (a key swing state), did so because they believed in his promise for change. June polling by impreMedia/Latino Decisions found that a majority of Latino voters (53%) said they know someone who is undocumented, while 25% said they know a person or have a family member who is facing deportation or who has been deported. President Obama has only terrorized our community and separated our families through the expansion of S-COMM and deportations. He is losing our community’s support!
Cecilia Munoz, an official from the White House has said, “The President continues to work every day to fix what’s broken about our immigration system…” Yet, I still remember unmistakably, the President’s own words at this year’s NCLR conference, telling Latino communities: “We [the administration] are working everyday to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way.” Tell that to Reyna’s children left fatherless, or to the millions of families separated by his immigration policies. The response of the crowd at the conference and our community nationwide has been clear: “Yes, you can!” He has the power to stop our suffering through the end of S-Comm and deportations, but he chooses to push us even more into the margins. The President is the only person with the power in this country to immediately stop the enforcement of flawed laws –in fact; courageous and deliberate action in the face of injustice is the only thing that has ever given this country the real hope of change and progress.
Our families are mixed status and every year another 500,000 US citizen Latinos turn 18 in this country, becoming eligible to vote. Our commitment to continue denouncing his plot to deport our mothers, fathers and peers will not end with today’s action. This is only the beginning and I hope he understands that we are jumping off his bus unless he stops putting us on Immigration Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) buses.