By Felicia Persaud
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 29, 2011: Very few lawmakers have passionately taken on the cause of immigration reform since the late Ted Kennedy and John McCain. And everyone knows how quickly that bi-partisan “marriage” on the issue went to hell in a hand basket, thanks to McCain’s bait and switch tactic. So it is refreshing to see the vigor with which Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, (D-IL), has attacked the issue and is taking the Barack Obama administration to task while others continue to sit on the sidelines and lament.
On July 27th, Gutierrez was arrested and fined for peacefully protesting outside the White House, the Obama administration’s deportation policies and its inability to push forward the DREAM Act. Gutierrez was charged with disobeying an official order and released after paying a $100 fine.
The congressman is racking up quite an arrest sheet since in May 2010 he was also arrested and charged in a similar protest. But thankfully he is keeping this issue in the spotlight or we will continue to be ignored and dismissed.
There is no denying that Congressman Guiterrez is not afraid of showing Obama’s complete hypocrisy on the issue of immigration reform.
“The President says Republicans are blocking immigration reform and he’s right, but it doesn’t get him off the hook. Everyone knows he has the power to stop deporting DREAMers and others with deep roots in the U.S. and we think he should use it,” Gutiérrez said in a statement.
Guiterrez was also quick to point out following Obama’s recent address to the national annual conference of the National Council of La Raza in Washington that those in the audience who said ‘Si Se Puede’ and ‘Yes You Can,’ when the President said he could not do anything about deportations were absolutely right.
As the congressman pointed out, 23 Democratic Senators, two former INS General Counsels, and Obama’s own Homeland Security staff agree the President has this power under current law.
Yet so far, according to the Obama Administration, they are using this discretionary power in fewer cases than the previous President and they are deporting more people than any previous President. Despite the fact that the President is the son of an immigrant Dreamer born in Africa.
Indeed, the harsh reality as Guiterrez has reiterated, is that while the White House is proud of its deportation increases, it is simply not true that the President’s hands are tied when it comes to enforcement. What is true is that Obama is not willing to risk his political career and the chance to win back the Presidency on immigrants and immigration reform.
There needs to be more Rep. Guiterrez’s in Congress, taking on this issue and being unafraid to get arrested and call the President out on his hypocrisy towards immigration reform. There are many lawmakers in congress with immigrant roots that can join with Rep. Guiterrez and keep this issue on the front burner and help make it a reality.
But for now, the lion stands alone. Shine on Rep. Guiterrez; we need you to keep this beacon burning bright.
The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.