By Linda Vega
Words are strong and can persuade. They can create division or they can unite. Words can hurt or they can heal. It is the rhetoric that will drive Latinos away from the GOP, many contend. What many journalists and bloggers, and other people scream about is what is not being said regarding Latinos. And it matters. The Liberals state that GOP Presidential candidates cannot count on the Latino vote because of the rhetoric that has instilled fear in the Latino community. They are correct. However, what they fail to address is that actions speak louder than words. Actions brought to light by the present administration are dangerous to Latinos because they are perilous to the Latino families and community. In implementing Secured Communities, which by all accounts was supposed to secure the U.S. and Communities across the nation, the Obama Administration has managed to use Secured Communities to deport Latinos (U.S. citizens and not), separate families, and drown out opportunity. In fact, this Administration has done more to discourage, separate families, and harm the Latino community than any other previous Administration, Republican or Democrat.
In a study done by the Berkley School of Law and the Cardozo Law Center, the Obama Administration deported 400,000 Latinos in one year using the Secured Communities as an excuse. My reaction at first was great, it is doing what it intended. Secured Communities, as it was introduced by President Bush in April 2008, was intended to help keep our communities safe by identifying those in the U.S. who were criminal illegal aliens, and those who were in the U.S. with the intent of furthering any bombing or terrorists activities. However, the present Administration took it a step further and began mass deportations of Latinos.
The use of the word “discretionary,” in the law allows (as it is in SB 1070) authorities to apprehend, question, detain, and often times deport, those looking “illegal.” This has never been defined exactly. Instead, authorities are given “discretion” to question those looking “illegal.”
No one in the media like CNN, NBC, or Latino Fox News has reported that out of the pool of 400,000 in one year 1.6% of these persons detained by ICE were U.S. citizens. This is more than the Bush Administration deported (even with errors) in 4 years. In fact, DHS Secretary Napolitano boasted that the program was doing its share and was helping to keep American safe. What the DOJ and the Obama Administration failed to voice was that at least 1.6% of those arrested were U.S. citizens. In a further law recently signed by the President, these U.S. Citizens can now be detained indefinitely under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Further studies by AILA, American Immigration Lawyers Association, report that deportations are closer to 1 million in two years. That amount is close to the total population of San Antonio, which is at 1.33 Million. Imagine, an entire city gone, by “legal means.” What is more alarming is that while there is an alleged 11 million undocumented in the U.S., only 77% are Latino/Hispanic. Those detained and arrested under Secured Communities were 93% Latino. There is a disproportion in usage of this program. In other words, this Administration is targeting Latinos.
Rather than report on this truth, the media and their articles concentrate only on Republican rhetoric. While words are powerful, do we, as Latinos and Americans, not feel in danger when Latino U.S. Citizens are randomly selected, harassed and incarcerated by this Administration as law breakers? When the Attorney General and the President use their power, over Congress, to increase deportations they are not deporting Europeans, Asians, or other immigrants. They are deporting Latinos. So while the rhetoric in the GOP may be against illegal immigrants, this current Administration is effectively doing the cleansing of America by deporting Latinos, illegal and U.S. Citizens.
Additionally, when the “fast and furious” debacle came to light regarding the issuance of guns to Mexican Cartels, who were they aiming at? Those who live along the border and are mainly Mexican, including U.S. Citizens. Once again, the rhetoric of the GOP pales in comparison to what is being done against Latinos in this Administration. The idea that the Attorney General would allow such a violent act against a group of people and believe that the guns would not be traced back to the Administration is negligent and contentious. Latinos cannot begin to believe that a President and a “friend” to Latinos would commit such atrocities, but he has. In using the laws and his Administration, this President has endangered families and Latinos who continue to view him as the leader of the free world. What is even more deplorable is that Latino Democrats have not stood up to state that these actions are wrong and need to be remedied regardless of party loyalty. These acts are wrong against Americans, Latinos, families, and the United States and all of its freedoms. In fact, this Administration has failed the Latino Community because it lacks the interest and the understanding of what values are embodied within the community.
When Candidates like Newt Gingrich address the actual facts about food stamps stating that Americans have increased as recipients of this entitlement under the Obama Administration, Democrats cite this as racist. But they fail to address the fact that the largest number, of the population, who is receiving food stamps are white Americans not blacks. So why are they playing the race card? If we ask what Latinos hope to gain under the Obama Administration, let’s look over the last three years, deportations, guns to cartels, cuts in education availability, and separation of families.
When those who attack the GOP as being anti-Latino because of rhetoric that looks to deport illegal immigrants, let us be clear about who is acting on these words. Unlike that famous speech that then Sen. Barrack Obama delivered at the DNC in which he said, we are not a black American or white America, we are the United States of American. He forgot to mention the Brown part of America, Latinos.
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