President Obama, June 2014: “If Congress will not do its job, at least we can do ours… I expect the recommendations before the end of the summer, and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay.”
From the moment President Obama began campaigning for the 2008 presidential election, he was lying. His campaign made promises that he would later intentionally break. The sad part is that we already expect this of U.S. politicians – even the president.
But millions of immigrants and their families believed that this president would be different. This president would care about the suffering of Latinos; the suffering of millions who live and work in this country, despite being born in oppressed countries around the world.
In some ways, Obama’s presidency has been different: this President has faked legitimate concerned for those separated families, for children torn from their parents.
But President Obama, as a bourgeois politician, is not really so different than the others. During his presidency, he has run the largest deportation machine in U.S. history. His promises to pass immigration reform in his first year as President rang hollow when he simply failed to try – even though the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.
This spring, President Obama promised to use his executive authority to protect at least 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Even this promise was shallow. Just last week, the President used the midterm elections and undocumented immigrant children at the border as excuses to delay any executive action.
Erika Andiola, an undocumented activist whose mother is in deportation proceedings, described the move as the President “throwing [Latinos] under the bus.” She is right. While the Democratic Party uses immigrant suffering to its advantage with conservatives, approximately 1,100 people continue to be deported daily.
Cecilia Munoz, Director of Domestic Policy for the White House, tried to excuse the delay by pointing to supposed political necessity. This is also a lie.
Deportation isn’t necessary. Family separation isn’t necessary. Mass incarceration of immigrants is certainly not necessary. And we shouldn’t put up with it for another minute, just like we cannot be told to put up with racism against African American communities, police murders, unemployment, sexism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, or many of the other ills rampant under U.S. capitalism.
As the clock ticks on Obama’s latest promise of action by the end of the year, let’s remember: Democrats and Republicans lied to us and threw over 2 million of our working brothers and sisters under the bus. We cannot trust them with setting policy, and we cannot trust this corrupt system to serve justice. Let’s replace it with a system that has a fighting chance.