Napolitano and the enforcement problem

I feel like starting this post with a frustrated sigh, but since you guys can’t actually hear me, I’m going to start by letting you know that I just sighed in frustration.

Today, the New York times is running a story on Janet Napolitano’s continued focus on immigration enforcement. Her speech, at a conference on border security in El Paso, TX, was on the heels of Obama’s announcement that immigration reform will have to wait until 2010. [insert another frustrated sigh here] Napolitano defended the administration’s policies as “different” than those of the Bush administration:

But Ms. Napolitano argued that the Obama administration had changed Mr. Bush’s programs in critical ways, such as putting an emphasis on deporting criminals and holding more employers responsible for hiring illegal workers.

“Make no mistake, our overall approach is very, very different. It is more strategic, more cooperative, more multilateral and, in the long run, more effective.”

I really wanted to believe that this could be true and that this administration understood what was at stake in this debate, but patience is really wearing thin. It is PAST time that this administration delivered on their promise of fixing our broken system. More enforcement, I don’t care how much the strategy has shifted, is not contributing to a solution to the many, many issues plaguing our immigrant population.

“How many more millions if not billions of dollars are we going to put into the border without fixing the immigration system?” asked Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said of Ms. Napolitano, “She’s increasing enforcement of laws that President Obama and she have both said are broken, and the result is going to be a lot of human misery.”

I’ve been trying to defend the administration, in hopes that each somewhat disappointing move has been political posturing that is setting up for the big CIR push to come. But, there is only so many times they can dangle the carrot, just out of our reach, and promise that we will get it eventually, before people start to lose trust. I am offically pissed off – and I know I’m not the only one.

One response to “Napolitano and the enforcement problem

  1. Robert Gittelson

    I an sending this comment from the road, as I too am on my way to Pittsburgh. I share the frustration of Rachel, (and Ali). Rachel is certainly not alone in her sentiments. I can’t tell you how many concerned people have e-mailed me in the past 24 hours, asking for my opinion on this latest delay. While I’m still analyzing these developments, I tend to take a more optimistic view than the above blog.
    I can’t help but feel that the President is sincere in his commitment to CIR, and as much as it pains me, I trust his political judgement, (much more so than anyone else in the country). I think that team Obama has recognized that through the generation of fear and hysteria, the Republicans have hurt his healthcare plans to date, (although polling continues to show that they have hurt themselves far worse than they have hurt the President). I feel that the President now believes that he was too aggressive in his timeline on healthcare, when he predicted a bill before the summer recess, and he doesn’t what to open himself up to that same trap on CIR. I am confident that he has obtained commitments from Congressional leadership to move this bill long before the mid-term elections. I do not doubt his resolve.
    However, as to the pain that this “enforcement only” environment is causing; that pain is all too real. While it must be of small consolation to the unfortunate migrants that are and will be massively and inexcusably inconvenienced this year due to the absence of CIR, they are indeed martyrs in this worthy cause. It is through the pain and suffering of these primarily honest and hardworking people and especially their families, that even the eyes of Restrictionists will be opened to the injustice of our broken system. We must stand firm in our resolve to keep this issue on the front burner. It is now up to us to counter the spin and propaganda of opponents of CIR. We must not become victims of their “shouting down” scare tactics, and politics of obstruction.

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