FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

No White Christmas for Brown Immigrants

by ALVARO HUERTA

The recent controversy over the comments made by Megyn Kelly—the new media darling of Fox News—telling kids on the air that Santa “is just white,” rings truthful for millions of brown, undocumented immigrants in this country. Latino immigrants who lack legal status will have something less to celebrate this year, once gain, since neither President Obama nor Congress has taken meaningful action to resolve their precarious and vulnerable status.

In this time of holiday celebrations, where families gather to feast on good food, open presents and count their blessings, the Obama administration continues to deport undocumented immigrants at record rates, whereby splitting immediate and extended families apart. For instance, according to recent data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, the Obama administration has deported over two million immigrants in the past five years. Compared to former U.S. Presidents, this mark makes Obama the leader in the field of separating families and penalizing mostly hard-working individuals for the simple act of wanting a better future for themselves and their families.

While Obama supports a bi-partisan, immigration bill drafted by the so-called “Senate Gang of Eight,” where it passed in the Senate and remains stalled in the House, the House-dominated Republicans balk of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Although Democratic leaders in Congress and some immigrant advocacy groups begrudge Republicans for not acting on this “comprehensive immigration reform” bill, the legislation remains politically and ethically flawed for undocumented immigrants and their families. By focusing mainly on enforcement and security measures, such as the ongoing militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border with thousands of additional enforcement agents, high-tech reinforcement and expansion of the wall, increased drones and military-related equipment, not to mention draconian employer-based measures to identify and deport undocumented workers, this bill does more harm than good for those who live and work in the shadows.

If the White House and Congress truly want to make progress in fixing the dysfunctional immigration system and not just penalize those on the bottom, both Democrats and Republicans need to accept the premise that undocumented immigrants represent mostly honest, hard-working individuals who contribute greatly to this country’s prosperity. While it’s politically convenient to blame Latino
huertaimmigrants for America’s economic downturns, why don’t America’s leaders and the public also recognize their strong work ethnic and daily sacrifice when they clean houses, raise children, care for the elderly, mow lawns, wash dishes, park cars and sell their labor on street corners?

When Obama talks about “American exceptionalism” in international affairs, he needs to seriously re-examine his domestic policies and how his administration treats the most vulnerable and exploited among us. Like all U.S. Presidents, Obama has enormous executive powers that he needs to exercise, providing relief for most undocumented immigrants living and working in this country. It’s not enough to provide temporary relief to some undocumented youth, Obama needs to halt the deportations and detentions for all undocumented immigrants (except for serious criminals) until Congress passes true comprehensive immigration reform based on humane principles, like dignity and respect for all.

Obama should also act immediately to prevent the senseless deaths of Latino immigrants who attempt to cross the border state, such as Arizona, resulting in a silent humanitarian crisis in this country. During the past decade, for example, over 2,000 immigrants have died in border states, especially in the desert where they lack access to water and succumb to heat exposure. This figure only includes those bodies that have been found, where families from Mexico and Central America mourn their missing and dead relatives. Where’s the public outcry? Who will fight and defend the interests of these human beings and future ones at risk of death, if not the federal government with its financial, technological and humanitarian resources at its disposal?

For those immigrants who survive the treacherous U.S.-Mexico border crossing, many of them face a nightmarish experience after being apprehended and imprisoned by ICE officials. Operated both by public officials and for-profit interests, these detention centers or immigrant prisons serve the function to criminalize, detain and deport immigrants with minimal rights and limited access to legal counsel. Too often, unaware or misinformed of their rights, many immigrants sign stipulated orders of removal, waiving their right to a hearing in front of a judge to plead their case. Morever, given that these men and women are desperate to escape their harsh imprisonment, by signing this “voluntary” deportation form, many of then are unaware of the legal ramifications, such as “agreeing” to a 10-year restriction on re-entry to the U.S. and other punitive consequences.

I find nothing “exceptional” about how the U.S. treats los de abajo / those on the bottom.

Thus, by taking decisive and humane actions towards resolving our dysfunctional immigration system, Obama will remind Kelly and her friends at Fox News that Santa doesn’t have to be white, after all.

Alvaro Huerta is a UCLA Visiting Scholar at the Chicano Studies Research Center. He is the author of “Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm,” published by San Diego State University Press (2013).

 

 

More articles by:

Dr. Alvaro Huerta is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of “Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm,” published by San Diego State University Press (2013).

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Grenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail