As we speak, Latin@ bloggers and activists are grappling with the question of whether they want to “be in”– or sit this one out–, when it comes to Team Obama 2012. Check out the discussions over at Vivir Latino or Latino Politics if you don’t know what we’re talking about.
Matt Stieglitz writes at Latino Politics:
For those who have avoided a computer for the past few weeks, President Obama’s social media team is gearing up for his 2012 run with his ‘Are You In?’ campaign on Facebook. Essentially, one clicks that they’re “in”, gets bombarded with options to help with the campaign, and it’s off to the races. The only problem is that not everyone is “in.” If anything, Latinos are growing increasingly skeptical of President Obama’s ability to support our community beyond a White House Latin Music Night.
As a close friend of mine stated, “I’m NOT in. Obama has my vote, no doubt. But I’m still not sure if he has my money or time. What happened to Immigration Reform? On that note, what the hell happened to the DREAM Act?” His point is valid, and allows us to dispense with the elephant in the room: President Obama has yet to deliver substance on the rhetoric he employed to secure the Latino vote.
Jaxsun first shook Barack’s hand at Netroots Nation Chicago in 2007 and was swept away by his talent. His speeches and campaign were an impressive change from what we’d been hearing. We both donated to Obama in 2008, signed pledges, knocked on doors – heck, we still have Shepard Fairey “Hope” prints cluttering up our walls.
We remember when the POTUS described the harmful effects of our immigration policy on families. We remember when he campaigned to end this human rights crisis in our country.
We also remember that he deported more people his first year in office than Bush did in any of his 8 years.
Now we’re stuck in the lackluster position of having to wait. And see.
“Wait and See” might be our slogan for 2012, at this point.
But we are not alone. Many Latin@s and immigrant rights activists are waiting to invest our time and energy until we see how things go over there when it comes to changing immigration priorities. Will the President get the memo and use his authority to stop deporting law-abiding immigrants with families and futures in this country?
With the implosion of comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act last year, we’ve also seen the explosion of Arizona-style laws and lopsided immigration enforcement (enforcement that targets workers and families, not criminals and corporations). Team Obama has ratcheted up deportations in the absence of any coherent reform of our immigration laws or protections for hard-working but undocumented immigrants.
Now, the White House is again basking in the headlines for holding (yet another) meeting on immigration reform, where the President gets to pretend to be working hard and actually keep doing more of the same, pushing the burden of reform onto immigration groups that have spent the last several years doing everything they could think of to rally support for comprehensive immigration reform. And, of course, calling for cooperation from the GOP, who have gotten most of what they have asked for (ahem $600 million more to the border) without ever actually coming to the table to negotiate.
But, on that dismal note, DREAM leader Gaby Pacheco never ceases to inspire us. Here’s what she said at a press conference following up on 22 U.S. Senators’ recent request to President Obama to halt the deportations of DREAM-eligible youth:
“We are seeing a real leadership coming from them,” Pacheco said of the Senators. “We cannot wait for laws to be passed for the pain and suffering of our communities to end.”
During a time of federal budget crisis, spending money on detentions and deportations is not a good use of resources, “especially for deporting students who have grown up in this country, and have received their education here,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco recalled the “Yes, we can” slogan used in Barak Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Yes, we can” is a translation of Sí, se puede, a very popular motto in the Latino community coined by César Chávez in 1972. “I remember feeling the chills of understanding that [Obama] knew our community,” Pacheco said.
Now, the best part:
“Today we want to tell the President, ‘Yes, you can end our deportations, yes you can end our pain, and yes you can be the leader that everyone is looking out for you to be.’”
Mr. President, respectfully, we don’t care that you invited “stakeholders” like the COO of Facebook to the White House to talk about immigration policy. We don’t care that you are (yet again) “committing” yourself to immigration reform. We care that our friends continue to face deportation and you continue to refuse to use your power to change it.
Paging Team Obama: “Yes, you can.”
And if you do, we (for starters) are in.