Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series on immigration, leading up to our Twitter Talk on February 13 at 9pm EST with Emmy-winning journalist Jorge Ramos. To take part in the conversation, follow #CountryForAll on Twitter.
Welcome to the land of two million deportations, a land that you might know well. It is the United States of America, and ever since President Obama took office in 2008, we are on target to deport more than two million people by 2014. That is two million people in six years. And this is coming from a Democratic president who promised to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in his first term, and is now promising to get it passed in his next term.
That is one of the reasons why I respect what Jorge Ramos has done as a journalist. Not only was he one of the few in the entire country who said in 2010 that President Obama was breaking his promise to get comprehensive immigration passed, but Ramos made sure to hold the President accountable again in 2012.
I cannot recall many other media personalities who grilled the President during the 2012 election cycle. Ramos did such a good job that even Republicans were giddy, thinking that maybe just maybe, they had a chance to sway the Latino vote and defeat the President. But, of course, that wouldn’t happen, because as much as the Obama administration nears the two million deportation mark, you have GOPers endlessly discussing electric fences and self-deportation.
It was clearly one of the most frustrating parts of Obama’s first term, and when added to an immigration enforcement record that still is separating families on a regular basis, it’s hardly surprising that in his second term promises about reform are being viewed with skepticism by many in the immigrant community. Take that, along with the current findings of record deportations, and you are just left to wonder about the President’s immigration agenda.
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Which brings us back to the land of two million deportations. Elise Foley of The Huffington Post took the time to analyze the latest study from Tanya Golash-Boza, an associate professor of sociology at University of California-Merced:
Her analysis found that 2.1 million people were deported between 1892 and 1997. From there, the rate of deportations swelled, hitting a record in the 2012 fiscal year with more than 400,000 removals. Apprehensions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement went from 10 percent of those in the Department of Homeland Security overall in 2002 to nearly 50 percent by 2011, the report says. And she found that nearly a quarter of the total deportations between July 2010 and the end of September 2012 involved parents of children who are United States citizens.
The rising rate predates President Barack Obama, who also works under a number of strict immigration laws. Still, he has presided over a significant portion of total deportations.
“On the one hand Obama gets to say, ‘I’ve deported all of these criminals,’” said Golash-Boza, who is writing a book about deportations. “On the other hand, not only are the people minor criminals, but they’re also much more likely to be people that are living, working, have children in the United States than even just a few years ago.”
Join the Conversation: Mamiverse Twitter-Talk with Award-Winning Journalist Jorge Ramos
It is a harsh reality of our current immigration system, and while families are pulled apart, it is still politics as usual in Washington. The White House blames Congress, and Congress blames the White House. The debate drags on, DREAMErs risk deportation, and then when an election comes along, U.S. Latino voters are courted and pandered to. This cycle is becoming all too familiar.
Who knows where comprehensive immigration will go in the next few months, but at the same time, I am hoping Ramos and other relevant media professionals begin to tell the real stories behind the two million deportations, just like he did last week on Al Punto. Because if we don’t, then we are just breaking promises to ourselves.