This is really depressing news:
Deportation is clearly not punishment enough for the Obama administration. Not only has President Obama deported more people in his tenure than in any of his predecessors, his administration is responsible for the most aggressive spike in federal prosecutions of immigration offenses. Now, Latinos are the majority of those who are sent to federal prison for felonies, according to a new report (pdf) from the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
The spike, other numbers show, has been driven in large part by the federal government’s aggressive prosecution of immigration offenses.
Basically this is due to a crackdown on immigration-related offenses. In the past, if someone was caught without documentation, they were allowed to choose to go back to their country of origin, often without penalty. President G. W. Bush changed that rule and started us on a path to automatic incarceration, severely increasing the number of immigration-related incarcerations and criminal penalties.
President Obama, disappointingly, has not only maintained this precedent, he’s escalated it.
Record deportations. Immigration crackdowns and raids. 287(g) and the so-called “Secure Communities,” which allows local law enforcement to connect with immigration officials and increases the likelihood that small offenses, like traffic violations, will lead to deportations.
In the first nine months of the year Latinos were 50.3 percent of all those who were sentenced to federal prison for felony convictions. Blacks made up 19.7 percent and whites 26.4 percent. Latinos are just 16 percent of the general population though, according to the Census. This is the first year that Latinos have become the majority of those sent to prison for federal felonies.
Incarceration rates among people of color in this country is the major civil rights issue of our time. The severity of the situation, particularly the disproportionate representation of people of color in prisons, can not be overstated.
What’s particularly ironic about the state of affairs in regards to immigration under President Obama is that he himself is the child of one immigrant parent, his Kenyan father who attended school in the US.
We’re all the children of immigrants, unless you are Native American. The only thing separating you from the immigrants being attacked today is that your family members came here under more favorable immigration conditions, or they simply were able to stick it out until their citizen children could reap the benefits.
I’ve written before about how I’m the child of immigrants who were able to come here under extremely favorable conditions due to the US policy toward Cuba.
I’m disgusted by the Obama Administration’s aggressive approach to immigration enforcement. Some say that it’s been an attempt to lure Congress into acting on immigration reform, by giving them what they want on enforcement. I say bullshit, and that you don’t get want you want by starting with compromise. Increasing these crackdowns does nothing but increase the culture of fear, overpopulate our prisons and insure that immigrants in this country will never be able to succeed.