Deportations Show Obama Can Not Win

deportationsProtesters marched in front of the White House in an effort to keep raising awareness about the deportation of illegal immigrants. Chanting “Not One More,” protesters held up handmade signs painted with President Obama’s face and the words “Deporter in Chief. 2 Millones,” a reference to an estimated two million immigrants deported under the Obama administration. But with immigration reform shelved and no sign of anything on the horizon, Obama continues to be in a situation he can not win.

Pennsylvania Avenue was not the only place with marchers in the streets. Over 40 separate rallies were held around the country, organized by the National Day Labor Organizing Network, and timed to coincide with the estimated millstone of two million deportations.

Perhaps most surprising, for a perceived liberal president who has counted on Hispanic support since before taking office, under Obama’s watch more people are being deported than in any other administration. Money allocated for enforcement has continued its twenty year rise, and a study by the Migration Policy Institute found the US was spending more money defending the borders and rounding up immigrants in the interior than the country was spending on all major federal law enforcement agencies combined.

Yet Obama will always be considered soft on immigration by Republicans. No Democratic president seems to escape that label. Obama’s deportation numbers, certainly championed if Bush were still in office, are ignored in favor of acrimonious fighting over no-compromise reform edicts and finger-pointing over a terrible Fast and Furious program. When Obama announced he would ease automatic deportations for immigrants with petty crimes, Republicans stamped their feet, yet enforcement dollars and personnel being finite, Obama, like every other president, had to make hard choices.

Hard choices are all the president faces, and he can not win for trying. Nobody will be satisfied, no matter how many people are deported, no matter how many ways Obama tries to show he is working to reform the system.

More to the point, Obama’s promise to stop deporting illegals with petty crimes on their record. The president said the government would go after gang-bangers and hard criminals, not types like students or day-to-day workers. Yet analysis of government records shows hundreds of thousands deported with only minor violations, including traffic tickets, or no record of any violations at all.

Meanwhile the pressure mounts from Hispanic groups. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will release a memo on April 9th asking the president to skip the legislature and directly order the easing of deportations among certain groups. White House legal is unsure whether the Obama can or not, but since any action by the White House to make proactive changes will blow any chance of meaningful dialogue between the two parties to reform laws, nothing will happen and nobody will be happy.

It is not like Obama is the only president to find himself in this predicament. In 2007 Bush tried to pass an immigration reform act that would have granted a path towards citizenship for millions, while also approving 20,000 additional border patrol agents. His act died in the Senate. And Ronald Reagan, beloved as he is, will never shake the legacy among Republicans for his amnesty efforts.

For a conciliatory personality as Obama seems to have, this all must be among the very worst aspects of the job. Undoubtedly, all presidents learn quickly that life has just become full of decisions that will please absolutely no one. But one of Obama’s top promises, as an optimistic Senator, was true immigration reform, and he is not going to get it. He can give concessions to one side or another in the hope someone might give him credit, but that is probably not going to happen either. As people show up in the streets to wave banners and call Obama out on his two million deportations, he surely knows he can not win.


Opinion by Andrew Elfenbein
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andyelf

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17 Responses to "Deportations Show Obama Can Not Win"

  1. red..white and blue   April 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    North of L.A. they are opening a DMV for illegals only..ain’t that a kick in the head

  2. red..white and blue   April 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    North of LA…they will be opening a DMV for illegals only..ain’t that a kick in the head

    • GKBT_@kSs46^{r[   April 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      I suppose efficient processing by the DMV of foreigners in this country without authority involves different skills and methods from those involved in processing ordinary citizens. If licensing undocumented aliens who are going to be sharing the road with us anyway serves a legitimate public safety purpose, then accomplishing that purpose efficiently makes sense. So, even though setting up an separate DMV location for processing unauthorized immigrants sounds bizarre, its wisdom hinges on whether its really serving a public safety purpose effectively and efficiently.

      Those who accuse Obama and his administration of catering to illegal immigrants will see this as yet another manifestation, but how, then, can they explain record deportations of illegals by the very same administration.

  3. steve T   April 7, 2014 at 2:04 am

    sheriff arpio was right to gather up all of the illegals in his round ups in maricopa county, az. he followed the law. i look at it this way the energy that the illegals put into coming here illegally can be used to come here legally. i dont pitty anyone breaking the law.

    • GKBT_@kSs46^{r[   April 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Sheriff Arpaio was within his rights to conduct his sweeps as long as he had authority to do so under federal law. That was taken away several years ago, and any sweeps he has conducted since then have been as wrong as any other abuse of power by a public official.

  4. Patrick o'hara   April 7, 2014 at 1:50 am

    I agree with leroy.Why should illegal aliens be given special treatment.My ancestors came here legally,why cant they?(illegals)If a bank robber robs a bank,do you reward him for his behavior?No,and i think the govt should enforce our laws.If we dont enforce our laws the results could be catastrophic.California is a good example of a state that is going bankrupt as a result of illegals taking advantage of state services(welfare,hospitals,etc)liberals can say this is cruel,and racists to talk about this in this way,but they are,nt looking at the reality of the situation…thank you

    • James RL   April 7, 2014 at 1:56 am

      It is more than cruel, it is economic suicide. In addition to the loss on the billions to the economy, it costs over $23,000 to deport just one undocumented person. Over 11 million? Do the math.

  5. steve T   April 7, 2014 at 1:48 am

    my parents came to this country legally with papers, they went through the system why cant others do the same,what they think we owe it to them. its a slap in my parents face when illegals come here and demand hand outs from the system.

  6. M1917A1   April 7, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Get out of my Country and stay out until you can be here legally under CURRENT law!

  7. ThisGuy   April 7, 2014 at 1:41 am

    If you are illegal, you should get fined and deported. that simple..

  8. richard king   April 7, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Always funny and thrilling to see people shocked when they find out they really are not getting away with what they think. God bless tha c.I.a. of u.s.of a.
    Caught ya mr. Obama
    Rich. K

  9. Dewing   April 7, 2014 at 1:01 am

    If comprehensive immigration reform stands a chance while Obama is in office, the administration has to persuade fair-minded Americans that it is serious about tough enforcement of existing law. Its actions appear to demonstrate that seriousness and make the Republican criticism sound like the same obsessive obstructionism we’ve come to expect from the GOP. If a battle finally shapes up over immigration during the remainder of Obama’s tenure, failure to acknowledge the reality of the administration’s enforcement record will more likely prove a disadvantage than an advantage to the opponents of reform.

  10. Major   April 7, 2014 at 12:58 am

    No matter how long it takes, send them ALL back.

  11. LeRoy   April 7, 2014 at 12:56 am

    If someone breaks in to your house you would pissed. Why not your country? They get rights that we don’t. If you want to live here do it the right way. We welcome new legitimate

    • Major   April 7, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Amen, LeRoy!

    • Dewing   April 7, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Our relationship to our country is not at all the same as our relationship to our house. People who enter our country seeking opportunities it has to offer are not stealing our property, and crossing the border without documentation is not criminal behavior as most people understand that term. More often than not, undocumented aliens are taking advantage of opportunities our fellow citizens reject, and the low wages undocumented workers are happy to accept hold key prices down for millions of Americans. They may use government services here, but typically they also pay substantial taxes here. Meanwhile, they tend to work harder for their pay, with fewer complaints, than many Americans. Whether they are a net tax burden to American citizens is an open question, with significant evidence on both sides, but nothing conclusive.

      The cost of returning all undocumented workers to their home countries would far exceed any possible benefit to be gained. It would prove a costly exercise in futility, much like the “war on drugs,” and on a similar scale.

      Deporting true criminals (those who have committed violations of law for which even American citizens can be put in jail or prison) and seeing to it that undocumented workers pay the same taxes as American workers make a lot of sense. Going further in punishing undocumented opportunity-seekers makes far less sense.

      Don’t argue policy issues using bogus analogies and inapt metaphors. That approach generally makes matters worse, not better.

    • James RL   April 7, 2014 at 1:59 am

      Being here undocumented is a misdemeanor. Driving over the speed limit is a misdemeanor and more dangerous. Ever driven over the speed limit and not been caught? Does that make you a criminal illegal American? Did you make amends and pay your fine with the authorities?


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