[Marxism] The defeat of DREAM

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 20 13:38:06 MST 2010


“To Save the Town, It Became Necessary to Destroy It”: Obama’s 
Politically Inept "Deportation First" Immigration Policy and Epic 
Failure on DREAM Act

Dream crossing

With the defeat of the DREAM Act, the Obama Administration’s 
"Deportation First" immigration policy – to expel record numbers 
of undocumented immigrants to obtain buy-in from the GOP on 
comprehensive immigration reform – has proven not just an epic 
political failure, but one with grotesque human costs.

Doubts over a strategy to deport hundreds of thousands of 
immigrants as a quid pro quo for Republican support on CIR were 
present from the start.  As detailed yesterday by the Washington Post,

Whenever Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and other 
immigrant-rights advocates asked President Obama how a Democratic 
administration could preside over the greatest number of 
deportations in any two-year period in the nation's history, 
Obama's answer was always the same.

  Deporting almost 800,000 illegal immigrants might antagonize 
some Democrats and Latino voters, Obama's skeptical supporters 
said the president told them, but stepped-up enforcement was the 
only way to buy credibility with Republicans and generate 
bipartisan support for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

  On Saturday, that strategy was in ruins after Senate Democrats 
could muster only 55 votes in support of the Development, Relief 
and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a measure that would 
have created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants 
who were brought to the United States as children.

  The New York Times is charitable in its analysis:

Part of the administration’s strategy has been to ramp up border 
and workplace enforcement to attract Republican votes for the 
overhaul. The vote on Saturday made it clear that strategy has not 
succeeded so far.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Democrats again will take 
consolation in the belief that the GOP’s opposition has further 
alienated an expanding Latino voting bloc -- a bloc that has 
coalesced around the Democrats largely because of the party's 
stated promises to get CIR done.  But with the Democrats string of 
failures to deliver even on plainly meritorious legislation with 
bipartisan support like the DREAM Act, their consolation is 
misplaced.  Latino voters, although holding the GOP in negative 
regard, will likely view the Democrats as incurably inept at best 
and insincere at worst and therefore unworthy of enthusiastic 
support -- support the Dems desperately need to counter Tea Party 
exuberance in 2012. Latino voters turned out in strength for the 
Democrats in the midterm elections, arguably saving their majority 
in the Senate. What will rally Latino voters now that the 
Democrats have serially failed to enact CIR or DREAM?  This likely 
enthusiasm gap will haunt any Democratic presidential hopeful 
offering warmed-over promises on immigration reform.

Beyond the policy debates and legislative post-mortems of the 
DREAM Act defeat, one key issue has been lost regarding Obama and 
the Democrats' high-profile failure here. With nothing to show for 
his high-pain, no reward strategy, President Obama has much to 
account for, having ordered a catastrophic mass deportation policy 
large enough to clear out the City of San Jose, California.  The 
incalculable human toll on America’s families, employers, and 
communities by deporting 800,000 immigrants is breathtaking. 
Families are broken, employers are scrambling to find critical 
workers, and entire neighborhoods and towns are desolate.

The Administration’s iron-fisted strategy to find support for 
humanitarian immigration reform brings to mind the old Vietnam war 
dictum, “To save the town, it became necessary to destroy it.”  To 
obtain a just solution for America's undocumented immigrant 
community, the Obama Administration has found it necessary to 
assail, deplete, and strike fear into its heart.   And the failure 
does not stop there, as ICE Chief John Morton has officially 
signaled that deportations will continue apace.  The President's 
moral arrogance, that he could build a just solution for the 12 
million undocumented and their mixed-status families, by deporting 
hundreds of thousands of non-citizens in the foolish hope of 
placating a malevolent and uncompromising opposition, has been a 
classic Obama "teachable moment".  Because there can be no doubt 
now as to the total disregard of America's immigrants in the Obama 
White House.

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