August 9, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA 
This morning, Politico issued its top questions for the President before he leaves for vacation.   On immigration, the article asked: 

“Would you issue an executive order to provide relief to some or all 11 million undocumented immigrants if the House fails to pass a bill?

Obama insisted during his first term that he couldn’t change immigration laws unilaterally. But then, he did. Months before the 2012 election, he ordered his administration to stop deporting certain young undocumented immigrants. Congressional Democrats and immigrant advocates will increasingly look to the president to use his executive authority in the absence of House action on comprehensive reform.

Obama is prepared to hold back on going into full-on campaign mode until October or November, and only if Republicans are showing no sign of progress.

But his response to this question would provide clues on his administration’s fallback plan.”

NDLON would like to see the above question answered.  And we have three of our own:

1. For the past several years, it has been reported that immigration enforcement is driven by a self-imposed quota. Chris Crane who represents ICE officers told the Washington Post in 2010, “For ICE leadership, it’s not about keeping the community safe. It’s all about chasing this 400,000 number.” Most recently USA Today revealed the extent to which ICE officers will go to reach their numbers.

Yes or No Question:  Is there a deportation quota?  If so, where does it come from and under what authority? Will it be reduced or eliminated as part of immigration reform? 

2. During your recent trip to Arizona, many expected you to address the state’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070, the on-going investigation into Sheriff Arpaio’s profiling in Maricopa County (that the Department of Justice has investigated for the past five years), and accusations that your own policies have caused an “Arizonification” of country.  In fact,  during the oral argument about Arizona’s SB 1070 in the Supreme Court, Paul Clement said this:  “The Federal Government doesn’t like this statute [Sec 2b of Sb1070], but they are very proud of their Se Communities program. And their Se Communities program also makes clear that everybody’s that’s booked at participating facilities is — eventually has their immigration status checked.”   He went on to say Arizona, “borrowed the federal standard as its own.”

What is the difference between your Homeland Security Department’s  Se Communities deportation program and the infamous racial profiling provision Section 2b of Arizona SB 1070?   Will S-Comm be ended or further reformed in near future? 

3. While the administration has used forceful rhetoric and has been a vocal advocate for legislative immigration reform, in practice it has cast a cloud of suspicion over the immigrant community in ways that make reform more difficult.  By deporting the highest amount of potential beneficiaries of that reform in US history, the administration altered statistics and referred to deportees as “criminals” despite the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency data demonstrating the opposite.  Thus, while arguing for their inclusion, the administration also reinforced the anti-immigrant perspective that frames undocumented immigrants as potential threats instead of potential neighbors and eventual equals.

Given that anti-immigrant enforcement hawks remain determined to push the debate toward further militarization and criminalization, do you still believe that taking enforcement-first measures in an attempt to create political capital for reform was the correct strategy? Do you regret referring to those deported as “gangbangers” and “threats”?

It is expected that 44,000 people will be expelled from the country by the Obama Administration during the August recess.  See also “44,000 can’t wait for immigration reform in Congress.” and “Stopping Deportations Should Be Plan A for Immigration Reform.




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