In an effort to win GOP favor on immigration legislation in Congress, the Obama Administration stepped up ICE deportations of undocumented workers to record levels. More than 800,000 immigrants were moved out of the United States in just two years by President Obama to appease Republicans, according to the Washington Post.
Whenever Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and other immigrant-rights advocates asked President Obama how a Democratic administration could preside over the greatest number of deportations in any two-year period in the nation’s history, Obama’s answer was always the same.
Deporting almost 800,000 illegal immigrants might antagonize some Democrats and Latino voters, Obama’s skeptical supporters said the president told them, but stepped-up enforcement was the only way to buy credibility with Republicans and generate bipartisan support for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.
Playing with the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of human beings is a despicable political ploy for any politician, let alone a Democratic President. And the “strategy” predictably failed, as with every other move to appease Republicans. This weekend’s defeat of the DREAM Act in the Senate shows the complete fallacy of racing to ruin the lives of immigrants in pursuit of legislative compromise with the GOP.
On Saturday, that strategy was in ruins after Senate Democrats could muster only 55 votes in support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a measure that would have created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome Republican opposition to the bill. The House of Representatives had passed the measure this month, 216 to 198. [...]
“It is a strategy which has borne no fruits whatsoever,” Gutierrez said. “This administration has unilaterally led the march on enforcement, yet the other side has not given one modicum of compromise.”
“If you really want to bring Republicans to the table,” he added, “so long as they are getting everything they want, every piece of enforcement, why, why would they come to the table?”
It’s yet another example of President Obama compromising with himself ahead of a legislative fight, and with Republicans predictably failing to act as Obama expected them to. Only this time, Obama did so by deporting more immigrants in two years than George W. Bush could even dream of. This chart from America’s Voice tells the whole story:
It’d be one thing if Obama sought to maintain parity with George W. Bush, or to back off of a threat to slow down or halt deportations to win concessions from Republicans. But a separate Washington Post story indicates that ICE, with cheerleading from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, actively sought to break last year’s record number of deportations.
When ICE officials realized in the final weeks of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, that the agency still was in jeopardy of falling short of last year’s mark, it scrambled to reach the goal. Officials quietly directed immigration officers to bypass backlogged immigration courts and time-consuming deportation hearings whenever possible, internal e-mails and interviews show.
Instead, officials told immigration officers to encourage eligible foreign nationals to accept a quick pass to their countries without a negative mark on their immigration record, ICE employees said. [...]
Without these efforts and the more than 25,000 deportations that came with them, the agency would not have topped last year’s record level of 389,834, current and former ICE employees and officials said.
The Obama administration was intent on doing so even as it came under attack by some Republicans for not being tough enough on immigration enforcement and by some Democrats for failing to deliver on promises of comprehensive immigration reform.
This is sick and disgusting, and Obama has nothing to show for it. But my money is on ICE striving to break this year’s record in 2011, cause Obama can’t look soft on immigration, ya know. Even though Republicans (and coward Democrats) will continue to attack Obama’s soft spot for “amnesty” or whatever.