Let’s set the record straight: our immigration system is an immoral atrocity, but for none of the reasons currently given by the mainstream media.
Countless people in Mexico and Central America have been driven off their land by US-coerced economic “reforms” and trade policies that are designed to benefit a transnational oligarchy, as well as violence and repression instigated by the US. Since getting in the US legally is nearly impossible for low-skilled, impoverished peasants, many of them make a dangerous journey into the US out of desperation. Since the early 1990s, some 6,000 human beings have died in some of the most excruciating manner while making this trek. Once they arrive, they are subject to demonization, hyper-exploitation and criminalization. It is a livelihood very few Americans would envy.
The Obama administration’s massive campaign of immigration raids (some of them without warrants), detention and deportation is perhaps unprecedented in American history. Even US citizens are getting arrested, detained and deported. By any reasonable measure, this is the real scandal. Yet it’s not what we’re hearing about. All the wailing of the right-wing banshees and hand-wringing over the “rule of law” from liberals and centrists has obscured the reality of families being torn apart, of workers being maimed and killed due to a lack of legal protections, of our legal obligations to refugees (yes, legal obligations) being torn to shreds.
What I’ve stated before about the Bergdahl prisoner swap also applies to today’s news:
A common cry is that it’s an Nixonian “abuse of power” on the part of the Obama administration’s “imperial presidency.” What is so strange about this is that Obama isn’t being accused of acting like a dictator for doing what a dictator typically would do, in fact it’s just the opposite. If anything, releasing men who were held without charge from an offshore, military-run, concentration camp known for its torture and abuse of inmates is a slow step away from tyranny.
Allowing temporary reprieve from punitive sanction for millions of undocumented immigrants is–if anything–too little, too late. After all, the Obama administration has already exercised prosecutorial discretion for the bankers who destroyed the global economy and the Bush administration officials who authorized torture. It is only after he shows similar mercy to some dark-skinned unfortunates who fled poverty and oppression that he becomes a tyrant to the right-wing and the media establishment.