Thanks to President Obama’s immigration crackdown, Latinos lead federal prison population

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.

Via Colorlines

and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

3 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    “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.” Hmm. I went on wikipedia and looked up the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).

    read it in full at http://www.nacua.org/documents/iirira.pdf

    the provision in question is in page 31, and it basically bans from the US for 3 years deported people who were here illegally 180-365 days but voluntarily left the US before deportation proceedings. And it’s up to 10 if said person was here illegally 366+ days. And 20 if the illegal alien was convicted of a felony in the US. While illegal border crossing is punishable by imprisonment, I don’t know about illegal presence other than deportation proceedings. And yes, secure communities was tacked on to IIRIRA 15 years ago but has only gained much attention in recent years.

  2. Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Well good thing he’s appointed all those minorities to the bench, because now they can claim that the system isn’t racist….

  3. Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Obama did what? So basically illegal immigrants were better off under that Texan Bush?

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

173 queries. 0.279 seconds