Obama’s deportation record worse than Bush’s, says lawyer

Immigration lawyer Cristina Godinez at a Cafe Migrante forum.

President Obama has been sending “mixed signals” on immigration, said lawyer Cristina Godinez.

What’s even more grating to this immigration attorney is that Obama has not delivered on his campaign promise and that his administration has deported more people than the previous government of George Bush.

Four years after he vowed to fix the broken U.S. immigration system as a presidential candidate, “his administration has yet to deliver on his campaign promise,” said Godinez at a February 26 Café Migrante discussion in Queens organized by the Philippine Forum.

“Instead, there have been more deportations under Obama than there have been in the two full presidential terms of George Bush,” she said.

It looks like the same focus will continue. To illustrate, Godinez pointed out that the Department of Homeland Security budget proposal next year is quite revealing. The budget allocates six times more money to immigration enforcement agencies than to its agency that grants immigration benefits to non-citizens, she said.

The enforcement agency Customs and Border Protection is allocated 21 percent of the proposed 2013 budget, according to Godinez, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement 10 percent. Contrast that with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that processes visas, green cards and citizenships, which is earmarked a “measly” 5 percent of the budget.

“This reflects the U.S. government’s immigration priorities,” she said.

Godinez said, “America proudly declares itself a nation of immigrants and yet forces some 11 million people to live in the shadows as undocumented persons by ‘congressional default.’”

She defined “congressional default” as the failure of the U.S. Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law that reflects social and economic realities.

“It has resulted in a confused patchwork of state and local immigration laws and an enforcement-heavy immigration policy on the federal level,” she explained further.

Immigrants, she warned, have the power to influence the outcome of this year’s election. Citing a 2011 study from the Pew Hispanic Center, Godinez said that one in eight Americans is an immigrant. She also noted the economic power of the foreign-born population, citing a study by the Selig Center of Economic Growth in the University of Georgia. The purchasing power of the Latino and Asian communities in 2010 reached $1.544 trillion, according to the report.

“Immigrants have the number and the resources,” she said.

One Comment

  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    It’s no secret the Obama administration has been deporting more people then during the 2 terms of President Bush.

    No wonder it takes 10 years to have the immediate member of the family to come to the USA and over 20 years for a brother or sister of a US citizen.

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