By Contributor on March 19, 2014

By Alvaro Huerta

President Obama needs to immediately bring to an end his deportation policy.

 

Obama has deported almost 2 million undocumented immigrants. He has also doubled down on harsh enforcement measures, such as close collaboration between employers, local officials and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

 

 

Undocumented immigrants have been organizing against such policies. Not satisfied with receiving temporary relief under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, for example, undocumented immigrant youth, or DREAMers, have demanded relief for their parents, too.

 

 

Now they have acquired a significant ally. On March 2, Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, a prominent Latino advocacy group, characterized Obama as “the deporter in chief” and demanded that the president take unilateral action to halt deportations. The organization had previously echoed Obama’s principles on immigration reform, such as militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, employer sanctions, and other stringent measures like fines and back taxes on aspiring citizens. In speaking out against Obama’s deportations, Murguia finally expressed the frustrations and demands of undocumented immigrants and their advocates.

 

 

This potentially represents trouble not only for Obama but also for Democrats in general. Obama wasted no time in defending himself as the “champion in chief” of immigration reform. Latinos know “I’ve got their back,” he asserted. But with his record on immigration not much different from Republicans, Latinos are torn about their electoral loyalties.

 

 

In a period of dramatic demographic change in this country, it’s time for Latinos to flex their political and economic clout by invoking their basic human rights and asking to be treated with dignity and respect. Instead of accepting immigration reform plans from Democrats and Republicans that exclude many or all of 11 undocumented immigrants from a pathway towards citizenship, this large and heterogeneous group should demand what immigrants deserve and earn on a daily basis: amnesty.

 

 

Obama can still redeem himself with Latinos. He should exercise his executive privileges by halting deportations and providing immediate relief to the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the shadows. Nothing less will suffice.

 

 

Alvaro Huerta, a UCLA visiting scholar at the Chicano Studies Research Center, is the author of “Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Toward a Humanistic Paradigm” (San Diego State University Press, 2013). He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

 

 

Copyright Alvaro Huerta



Photo: spirit of america / Shutterstock.com

 

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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