Obama’s Risky Policy for Immigration


While the public waits anxiously for President Obama to unveil comprehensive immigration reform, the Administration has already adopted a good deal of the Bush Administration immigration enforcement regime which is bound to taint the impact of any subsequent reform.

Since his inauguration, President Obama has 1) added $420 million dollars in supplementary spending to the militaristic Merida Initiative in Mexico; 2) committed to the completion of the 700 mile border wall at $3.9 million dollars per mile, and a several billion dollar virtual fence outsourced to Boeing; 3) hoped to rebrand the Real ID program, which intended to turn state issue drivers licenses into a national ID and which 24 states have rejected, into Pass ID, a slightly less egregious proposal which accomplishes essentially the same exclusionary goals; and 4) supported E-verify, an electronic verification system that screens job applicants, but has a high error rate and cannot account for fraud and identity theft.

These seemingly disparate policies are all part of a high tech immigration enforcement regime that criminalizes immigrants and has been a catalyst for domesticating the war on terror with dataveillance technologies.  The Merida Initiative militarizes the Mexico side of the border, which, along with the wall and virtual fence, sends a message to potential emigrants in the Americas that the golden door is closed.  Such deterrence messages aside, however, militarization doesn’t deter.

According to scholars the only effective deterrence to undocumented immigration during the past several years has come from economic recession, not from an18-foot wall that immigrants traverse with ladders, shovels and human chains or just plain walk around.  As Secretary Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security has said, “You show me a 50 foot fence and I’ll show you a 51 foot ladder.”

Quite frankly, even members of congress are hard pressed to define success regarding a border wall.  The same goes for the virtual fence and other technology-driven projects.  The virtual fence, a network of surveillance towers, sensors and cameras fails to distinguish among human beings and wildlife.  Although “Project 28,” the pilot 28-mile stretch of virtual fence in Arizona was a dismal failure, Obama seems eager to continue the project.

Further, in doubling down on such high tech policies that include Real ID, E-Verify, and US VISIT, the Administration wastes billions of taxpayer dollars on what a broad consensus of experts suggest are failed projects and so plagued with technical kinks that it is unlikely they would ever achieve their deterrence objectives, unless of course they are not supposed to.

In short order, the Obama team has bought into the risk approaches to governance that have accompanied the recent rise in government using high tech gadgetry as policy responses to complex social issues. They have also bought into the canard that enforcement practices could replace good social policy.  Like his predecessor, the Obama approach to immigration control continues to define undocumented immigrants as prey, which is highly problematic, but then nets everyone who ever applies for employment, a drivers’ license or goes to an airport or federal building, even more problematic. In exchange for going about their everyday activities all individuals must now hand over a good deal of their personal privacy so that the government might construct simulated identities that are inputted and kept in government databases.

With such an overbroad approach to undocumented immigration, everyone is considered guilty until proven innocent by data mining technologies.

This also amounts to the sort of invasive national ID system that civil libertarians have feared for decades; it has become a reality hidden within the new Administration’s immigration agenda.

The shame of the new Administration’s approach is that it disappoints the hopes and expectations of millions of Obama supporters, myself included.  Obama could have recalibrated the immigration debate along human rights and civil liberties grounds.  Instead, if one follows the allocation of funds rather than lofty rhetoric as the more accurate guide of Administration priorities, human and constitutional rights for immigrants won’t get much of a hearing in this Administration.

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2 responses to “Obama’s Risky Policy for Immigration

  1. The American people are at the end of their fuses, because for decades they have been supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses who hire illegal immigrants? Hundreds of billions of dollars are going into the pockets of corporate executives, because they pay–nothing–other than minimum wages to foreign nationals. Businesses are very well aware that taxpayers will keep supporting the 20 million plus already here, because a government mandated laws says its demanded of us? European Industrialized nations are also in the same place, having to deal with a EU parliament who are also forcing the same mandatory laws. In America there is a safety net for people who have lost their jobs and forced into the breadline?

    But illegal alien families who broke our sovereignty laws, have intentionally taken advantage of public welfare and federal legislation that gives them a right to our schools, health care and a whole barrel of benefits instead of US residents. Now President Obama wants to give AMNESTY, rewarding these people for crossing our almost defenseless border. This must not happen to the American workers and the rest of our population, because the Heritage Foundation has stated that just in retirement and pensions it exceeds $2 Trillion dollars. Even legal immigrants numbers have accelerated to 1. 5 million annually. We need no more poor, uneducated to sustain in America. We must cut down quotas to only the skilled contributors, who will not become a public charges. Then does anybody have an answer for those who will come after this AMNESTY? Eventually the millions who will come here, will lead to irreversible OVERPOPULATION.

    WE ALREADY HAVE IMMIGRATION LAWS, BUT HAVE SADLY BEEN UNENFORCED AND ARE NOT BROKEN? THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, WANT ABSOLUTELY–NO RESTRICTIONS– ON HOW MANY FOREIGN CHEAP LABOR CAN BE ALLOWED INTO THE US? OBSERVERS HAVE SEEN THE FINANCIAL IMPACT OF MASS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION INTO THE SANCTUARY STATE OF CALIFORNIA?
    Get involved with the power of E-Verify, a composite of the SAVE ACT, to remove illegal immigrants from businesses. Promote in addition 287(g) police law to question persons about their immigration status and stop the weakening of ICE raids and NO MATCH LAW. DON’T LET YOUR POLITICIAN GET AWAY WITH THESE IMMIGRATION TRAVESTIES? Like millions of livid Americans call 202-224-3121 GOOGLE NUMBERSUSA for the Facts, not lies.

  2. Despite the attempt of a minority of hardcore white supremacists to co-opt the debate by shouting “illegal aliens” ad infinitem, and/or comparing Mexicans to the Huns, the reality is that they are our next-door neighbors and we have to learn to accept their existence and end the horrible 1848 Apartheid imposed on Mexico back in the naked white supremacist days of the U.S. It’s time for the Obama admin. to seize the day and call on Congress to invite the Mexican people to dissolve their corrupt govt. and failed nation and join the U.S. as 10+ new states sans racism, allowing it to be developed as a sector of the U.S. Click the url to read my Megamerge Dissolution Solution showing how the Obama admin. can do it starting in 2010 for a win-win solution, avoiding wasting time on temp fixes.

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