Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Reformer, For Better And Worse

The American people are not stupid.  They- or we- are very, very sharp. Following a meeting in March held by three members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, one of the trio, Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, stated "we made abundantly clear to the president the kind of pain and the kind of demand which exists throughout the immigrant communities of this nation for a more humane process when it comes to deportation, the breaking up of families, the children left without parents."  And Politico reported Tuesday that Gutierrez (shown in photo, from Politico, below)

has long been a fierce advocate for immigration reform. In 2011, he was arrested in front of the White House while participating in an immigration rally. He has often criticized President Barack Obama for his deportation policy and for what Gutiérrez called his failure to address the issue adequately during his first term. He was also reportedly part of a group of Hispanic lawmakers who almost blocked a vote on the Affordable Care Act in 2010 in the interest of forcing the president to act on immigration reform.

And yet, with a record number of deported immigrants and failure to obtain comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama secured 71% of the vote of Hispanics in 2012, and-despite a recent drop in support- remains more popular with this rapidly growing demographic group than with the public at large, which remains suspicious of the sort of immigration reform the vast majority of Democrats (and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus) supports.

Both opponents of reform and the Hispanic community, while unaware of details, snese where Obama stands on granting legalization to illegal immigrants already in the USA.  Last month the L.A. Times found

... the portrait of a steadily increasing number of deportations rests on statistics that conceal almost as much as they disclose.  A closer examination shows that immigrants living illegally in most of the continental U.S. are less likely to be deported today than before Obama came to office, according to immigration data.

Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.

On the other side of the ledger, the number of people deported at or near the border has gone up- primarily as a result of changing who gets counted in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's deportation statistics.

The vast majority of those border crossers would not have been treated as formal deporations under most previous administrations. If all removals were tallied, the total sent back to Mexico each year would have been far higher under those previous administrations than it is now...

Until recent years, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were simply bused back into Mexico in what officials called "voluntary returns," but which critics derisively termed "catch and release."  

Those removals, which during the 1990s reached more than 1 million a year, were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's deportation statistics.

Support for President Obama in the Hispanic community recently has taken a hit, in part because of plunging approval of the Affordable Care Act.  But the President continues to rate more highly with that electorate than with the electorate at large. This suggests that, despite criticism of immigration activists, Latinos recognize that Obama and his party are on their side, a sentiment not shared by the nation at large.

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