Obama and the moment of truth on immigration
NEW YORK — The midterm elections are over and the hour of truth has come for Obama and his promises about immigration.
Regardless of the result of these elections, Obama — who promised to act after them and before year’s end — has run out of time and excuses to take the much-vaunted executive measures that will supposedly help millions of undocumented immigrants.
It is not surprising that, at this point, immigrants and their defenders are not confident that Obama will finally act in accordance with the promises that he so often has repeated and forgotten.
After all, he set a new record in deportations by expelling more than 2 million immigrants and reneged on his “firm” promises to take executive action to alleviate the situation of millions of undocumented immigrants in late summer, postponing it until year’s end for merely electoral reasons.
The disappointment of the Latino community and activists and politicians who had trusted in his word was profound and painful.
As a result, the president’s credibility among Latinos and immigrants in general is, at this moment, practically nonexistent.
Not even Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), a faithful member of the Democratic Party who calls the shots in the House regarding immigration reform, is convinced that the President will keep his word.
Speaking to the newspaper The Guardian about Latino voters‘ disenchantment with Obama and the Democrats, Gutiérrez made a less-that-encouraging prediction about the prospects for his party in the presidential elections of 2016.
“This problem that you see, politically, is nothing in comparison to the civil war that will be created politically in the Democratic party should the President not be broad and generous in his use of prosecutorial discretion,” he said.
What’s clear is that Latinos, frustrated and angry, are not willing to let the President fail again to take measures that could determine the future for hundreds of thousands of immigrant families.
That is why his speeches and public appearances have been repeatedly interrupted by activists who, shouting loudly, tell him to be true to his word and stop the deportations.
Cristina Jiménez, managing director of United We Dream, the largest group of young immigrants (Dreamers) in the U.S. and one of the most active organizations in the public protests against Obama, promises to continue those actions until the President makes good on his promises.
“United We Dream is escalating our campaign to get the President to immediately deliver on his commitment to stop deporting millions of our family members, friends and neighbors,” she said in a statement.
“The President likes to go big on immigration rhetoric, but we insist that he be unapologetic and big on results. After a string of broken promises by the President, immigrant youth are taking nothing for granted.”
Taking into account Obama’s inconsistency on immigration issues ever since he assumed the presidency, there is no certainty that he will, before year’s end, take the firm and generous steps that are necessary to legalize, even if temporarily, the situation of millions of families.
What is beyond doubt is that another betrayal by Obama to the immigrants in the next two months will cost the Democratic Party dearly, because in that case, as Gutiérrez told The Guardian, “Latinos will not be deciding whether or not they vote, but whether or not they are in the Democratic Party.”