Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
immigrantion protestA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Tens of thousands of mainly Latino demonstrators demanded immediate action on immigration reform from President Obama, last weekend. But Obama supports a “bipartisan” bill that would vastly increase raids and arrests. Unfortunately, “as with every other issue, when Barack Obama stands for an expanded police state, most of the American Left sits down and shuts up."

 
Immigrants Should Be Careful What They Wish For From Obama
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
On the immigration front, Obama’s practice is little different from that of the Bush administration.”
Tens of thousands of immigrants and their supporters gathered in Washington this past weekend to beseech President Obama to move this year on immigration reform. It’s doubtful they will get their wish, but supporters of meaningful change in U.S. immigration policies ought to be careful what they wish for. This president is no more interested in real reform in U.S. immigration policy than in genuine reform of the health care system.He is joined at the hip with those corporate forces that would condemn immigrants – especially those who are not white – to a world of shadows and perpetual insecurity, always at the mercy of some kind of cop.
Obama was cheered by thousands of demonstrators when his image appeared on giant screens on the Capitol Mall. “I’ve always pledged to be your partner,” said Obama, “and that’s a commitment that I reaffirm today.” But Obama’s commitments to common people are rhetorical and transient, while his ties to the economic and political elite are permanent. On the immigration front, Obama’s practice is little different from that of the Bush administration.
His administration continues Bush’s policy of deputizing local police agencies to enforce immigration laws, a formula for racial profiling and police abuse on a massive scale. The infamous 287(g) program was passed into law in 1996, in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. The perpetrator of the Oklahoma City attack was a white, right-wing terrorist, but the law allowed the federal government to turn local law enforcement loose on mostly non-white immigrants. In many localities, the program has the effect of putting people who appear to be “foreign looking” at the mercy of every racist with a badge. President Obama could bring the local police immigration enforcement programs to a virtual halt, administratively, without consulting Congress, but he has not – which shows his true intentions.
This president is no more interested in real reform in U.S. immigration policy than in genuine reform of the health care system.”
Obama is on record in support of a U.S. Senate immigration bill co-sponsored by New York Democrat Charles Schumer and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. Under their legislation, it is generally agreed that immigration authority raids will increase, resulting in huge growth of immigrant detention centers, which already incarcerate 350,000 people per year – the fastest growing sector of the American Prison Gulag. The bill would require a national ID card – something even George Bush found repugnant, and that progressives have long opposed. But, as with every other issue, when Barack Obama stands for an expanded police state, most of the American Left sits down and shuts up.
The Schumer/Graham/Obama bill would ensure that U.S. corporations get all the low wage immigrant workers they want through programs in which guest workers would have little leverage to improve their working conditions. And, of course, the Obama administration has no intention of altering their beloved “free trade” policies that have destabilized the peasant and working classes of Mexico and Central America, fueling the human flow northward.
Jesse Jackson, Cornel West and the heads of the NAACP and the National Urban League spoke in solidarity with immigrants – which is as it should be. But there can be no triumph for immigrant civil rights in a police state, or in a world where inequality is the biggest U.S. export.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
 

 

Direct download: 20100324_gf_Immigration.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:34am EDT