Palabra Final

How much longer will Obama administration pretend it doesn’t have a Latino problem?

How much longer will Obama administration pretend it doesn’t have a Latino problem?

LatinaLista -- Listening to "man-on-the-street" interviews being done by various news networks following President Obama's three-day bus tour throughout the Midwest, it's interesting to hear more than one person say they're tired of hearing Obama continually shift the blame rather than begin to take responsibility.

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The Latino community is experiencing that same kind of tiredness when it comes to excuses about immigration enforcement.

It's been repeated ad nauseum that Obama's hands are tied regarding immigration unless we get Republicans to come on board. Yet, there are clearly things Obama can do to combat the all-out war that appears to be escalating against undocumented immigrants by the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Namely, he can do something about the Secure Communities program.

This is a program generating an inordinate amount of antagonism from coast to coast among Latino communities because government agents are going and deporting non-criminal aliens. So far this week, announcements of protests and rallies against the Secure Communities program have filled my inbox.

The sense of anger among various Latino communities is growing.

A new report released today by a coalition of organizations including the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the National Immigrant Justice Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer's Guild, among others, outlines just how widespread opposition is to the Secure Communities program.

Entitled RESTORING COMMUNITY: A National Community Advisory Report on ICE's Failed "Secure Communities" Program, the report features testimony from former District Attorney of New York Robert Morgenthau, heads of law enforcement, and victims of Secure Communities like Isaura in Los Angeles whose 911 call for help resulted in her deportation proceedings.

It was only after much public outcry on how the program was deporting victims of domestic violence -- women who called the police to report their partners' abuse -- that the Dept. of Homeland Security passed some modifications to the program -- but it hasn't improved public confidence.

It's precisely because of this program that law enforcement officials are afraid of losing the trust of their immigrant communities, something which they've worked hard at building over the years.

The widespread unpopularity of Secure Communities is building up to be a bigger problem for the Obama administration than they can imagine.

This program is targeting the very communities that worked the hardest to see Obama elected in 2008. It made no difference that many of them couldn't vote. They organized and energized their neighbors who could vote to get to the polls.

The same old excuse that Obama can do nothing doesn't fly this time. This program wasn't mandated by Congress. It wasn't amended to the Constitution. It was launched in 2008 by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency -- the same year Obama won his election.

Today's report, along with, organizations across the country, law enforcement officials and state politicians are calling on the Obama administration to dismantle the current program.

Not surprisingly, Obama has turned a deaf ear to these pleas.

Not a good strategy for someone who understands it was the Latino vote who got him where he is today.

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