Should Immigrant Youth Trust Obama?
David Brown and Patrick Martin of wsws don’t think so, either. In their article, “Obama’s Cynical Gesture to Immigrant Youth” they have put together a more comprehensive argument than my initial one, which was based on the merciless sirens of cognitive dissonance that bounce around in my skull every time Obama opens his mouth.
Not that they don’t have strong feelings also. They call this “gesture” of Obama’s “CYNICAL” and “SELF-SERVING” and a probable “TROJAN HORSE.”
Obama himself comes to mind with their use of the expression “Trojan Horse”, as well as, say, Obama’s invoking the idea of “humanitarian intervention” to bomb the sh*t out of sovereign countries for corporatist exploitation. Then there was Obama’s magic act with the disappearing “public option”, more of a “Trojan pony” some have said. How effectively he managed to derail the universal health care movement in this country with that one. But I digress.
Obama’s suggested latest policy involves undocumented immigrants who were under 16 when they came to the United States with their undocumented immigrant parents. From this grouping, only those who are still enrolled in school or have graduated from high school, or who have been honorably discharged from the military are eligible. Another requirement is they have no criminal record including misdemeanors.
Now this grouping might reach 800,000 in number. Impressive, until you consider that there are 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Any plans for the rest of them? I know, I know. Obama has the reliable “I can’t do miracles” I can only imply I am slouching to the right side of history as back-up defense. But, I’m thinking what happens to the undocumented immigrants when some of their kids step forward out of the shadows? Obama has some humanitarian contingency plan for parents and relatives? I don’t think so, judging on his past heart-breaker of a track record.
Anyway, if a young immigrant fulfills the above requirements then he or she can ENROLL and WILL BE CONSIDERED for Obama’s plan ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS.
Say what? On a CASE-BY-CASE BASIS?
Apparently, since this will be in the hands of the Department of Homeland Security, there will be some serious scrutiny beyond the above eligibility requirements. Wonder how many of us citizens, ourselves, could even begin to pass muster with that massively OPAQUE surveilling and strong-arming organization? So how many of the 800,000 kids will then end up eligible? I’m thinking they sure as hell better stay away from any OWS demonstrations or even OWS political thinking.
But let’s stumble onward.
“OKAY, JOHNNY, TELL THESE IMMIGRANT KIDS EXACTLY WHAT THEY’VE WON!!!!!”
If a kid’s case passes muster with the Department of Homeland Security, THEN he or she MAY avoid deportation for TWO years and receive a WORK PERMIT.
Only two years? Then what?
A “work permit”? Then what?
A “work permit” in a country where thousands of jobs circle the bowl every month while media and politicians ignore the massive “joblessness” of an economic “recovery” in which 1% corporatist bonus babies are obscenely back or even more in the green and the rest of the 99% citizens are in quicksand. Welcome to our quicksand, kids!
So, once again. The kids register as ILLEGAL. Turn themselves in. TRUST the Obama administration, which may be replaced by the ROMNEY administration in less than a year. And what do you think Romney might do about Obama’s waffly electioneering “maybe” “temporary” policy?
But not to get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a real look at the Obama immigration track record in case he is still with us, which is more than likely.
This is what Brown and Martin have to say:
In the course of his 2008 election campaign, Obama fostered hopes among immigrant workers and youth of a more humane immigration policy. Once in office, however, his administration has driven immigration enforcement to new heights of brutality. By 2011, the Department of Homeland Security was deporting 400,000 immigrants a year, an all-time record. Since Obama entered the White House, his administration has deported an estimated 1.2 million immigrants.
Obama and MSNBC and all those Stockholm Syndromed, evidence-defying Obama apologists want us to believe in Obama’s cautious yet faux-rejoice-able “evolving” state on important, granted, social issues. The fact is it is election time -- Lucy and the football game time with Obama -- and there is a juicy Hispanic demographic (like the one of gay voters) Obama wants to seduce. For those many many who ignored the “small print” amidst Obama’s pro-gay marriage rhetoric let me paraphrase. While Barack has slowly come to believe (cough, cough, choke) that gay people should be able to marry, he also maintains such unions are at the mercy of the will of the states. (That is not taking a stand, imho, that is a weaselly lean against two stools!)
Brown and Martin on Obama’s fine print on the youth immigration so-called two year “relief”.
Once registered, immigrants still have no path to citizenship and their legal status is only temporary. Even if there is no immediate double-cross, the condition of the newly registered would represent only the regularization of their status as an exploited underclass. Obama is declaring these immigrant youth good enough to work for the minimum wage or less, but not entitled to basic democratic rights, let alone full citizenship.
NO REAL DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS. NO PATH TO CITIZENSHIP.
And the possibility of a “tough-talking on immigration and everything else to try to out-right Obama” (which is very hard in essence) Mitt Romney coming soon to a country near you.
Not that on immigration Obama was the lesser of two evils, at least not seconds before last Friday’s pro-immigrant photo op and all that style not substance rhetoric. Thankfully for Obama, MSNBC -- major supplier of Obama hopium -- long ago chose myopia instead of addressing the not-so-fine fine print of Obama’s grand gestures. They’ve now got him walking on water on behalf of those lovable and earnest immigrant kids. (“Team Dem Must Win” election mantra, dontchaknow!)
So if Obama gets back into office, you don’t suppose he’d throw the immigrant youth under the bus, do you? Like, say, his original anti-war voting base? Health care advocates? Women’s rights advocates? Union workers (think Wisconsin)? The poverty-wracked and jobless? ETC., ETC., ETC.!!!!
Brown and Martin have his number:
On immigration, as on countless other issues, Obama dropped his election promises and pursued a policy just as right-wing as that of the Bush administration, if not even more reactionary. In 2008, Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote, but polls now show that 59 percent of Hispanic voters disapprove of the administration’s merciless deportation policy.
Thus, after three years of devoting massive federal resources to enforcing immigration laws and deporting undocumented workers, Obama has now dusted off his “moral” compass and declared his sympathy for undocumented immigrant youth. Where was this sympathy before June 15, 2012? The executive order Obama announced that day could have been issued on January 20, 2009, when he took office.
In fact, there are no significant or principled differences between the two big business parties on the question of immigration. Both uphold the persecution of immigrants and oppose any extension of democratic and citizenship rights. Both parties do the bidding of the financial aristocracy, which profits financially from the super-exploitation of immigrant workers and profits politically from dividing the working class along ethnic and language lines.
So, we get lots of Obama razzle dazzle. With a lot of naive conviction among citizen peers and faux-progressive media personalities that such an amiable personality as Obama would never “set up” the immigrant youth trusting him so earnestly.
Obama, disinclined to ever approach a national issue seriously and comprehensively, is ALWAYS very willing to exploit the most convenient of the moment with brazen hypocrisy. To grandly promise a small measure to be snatched back with a shameless lack of acknowledgement. Don’t dare protest when it happens, since he is (drum roll, please) THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS. (cough, cough, choke)
To a gamesman NOT STATESMAN like Obama, the ends always justifies the means. The worthy ends are, of course, all about his own self-aggrandizement (as well as ultimately proving unconditional political loyalty to his corporate pimp-overlords).
With this immigrant youth case, this year, the ends are his re-election to the presidency.
Vaya con Dios, kids. Not with Obama!