America’s war on immigrants

Al Jazeera America

In the name of safeguarding the nation, acute violations of human rights go unchallenged

Activists hold family photos outside the White House on March 12 to protest the nearly 2 million deportations that have taken place during Barack Obama’s presidency while Congress debates immigration reform.Brendan Smialowski//AFP/Getty Images

As the interminable debate in Washington over immigration reform wears on, undocumented migrants in the U.S. continue to exist at the mercy of law enforcement efforts that defy all pretenses of justice and legality.

Earlier this year, Al Jazeera America reported on the stop-and-frisk-style raids being conducted in New Orleans by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to boost migrant deportation quotas. In that article, a Honduran immigrant recounts his experience of being handcuffed and shackled in the back of an ICE vehicle, which had been deployed to round up undocumented people using racial profiling techniques, saying, “I heard one of the agents say to another, ‘This is like going hunting.’ … And the other responded, ‘Yeah, I like this s—.’”

Also mentioned in the article is the fact that ICE agents in New Orleans “use mobile fingerprinting devices similar to those used by the U.S. military during its counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

If we add to this mix the prevalence of abuse that deportees face from federal officials, fatal shootings of migrants by Border Patrol personnel and the rampant construction of nativist border walls, it begins to appear that the U.S. is indeed waging a war on immigration. It starts at the very top: Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama has overseen more deportations than any other president in history — nearly 2 million people in the six years he has been in office.

The severity of such statistics is partially camouflaged by Republican accusations that Obama isn’t tough enough on immigration. Meanwhile, he is able to invoke Republican intransigence to excuse his inaction on reform. That much is clear. What is less clear and much more insidious is that political inertia ultimately benefits those in power, regardless of party.

This is where the story gets interesting:

Read more at Al Jazeera America

2 thoughts on “America’s war on immigrants

    1. Of course, you are correct. American citizenship is a privilege and not a human right. It is a fact lost on most Americans, who don’t realize that their citizenship may be forfeited under certain conditions as defined by U.S. Statutes. Engaging in acts of terrorism against the United States is one of these. Those who think, for example, that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki was an “extrajudicial killing,” a term that makes most constitutional scholars smile, fail to understand that Awlaki had forfeited his citizenship, and as an enemy combatant on a battlefield was not entitled to due process beyond that afforded by the Geneva Conventions. He had the right to die.

      But I think that the author’s point is valid: These illegal immigrants are fleeing desperate conditions that they did not themselves create. They are victims, not criminals. What they seek in America is not citizenship as much as the chance to simply survive. Seeking the opportunity to live is not a crime. Some would even call it a human right. America’s Founders believed it to be an inalienable human right.

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