Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Don't Drink The Immigration Enforcement Kool-Aide

The Arizona Republic recently published an article on the burden the Obama Administration’s stepped-up immigration enforcement agenda has placed on our nation’s immigration courts. It only stands to reason that if the President’s desire is to deport more people than any President in the history of our country that he must have contemplated the need for an increase of funding for additional immigration judges to preside over the increase of deportation cases.

Unfortunately, the obvious solution to hire more immigration judges does not appear to have been considered by our President. The White House's Fiscal Year 2011 budget allocation for the Department of Homeland Security includes $4.6 billion funding for Border Patrol agents. Fair enough. The budget also includes requests of more than $1.6 billion to continue the identification and deportation programs for undocumented foreigners with criminal records, a $200 million increase over what was provided during Fiscal Year 2010. Certainly looks good on paper.

One would be hard-pressed to find many Americans who would be willing to argue against the President’s allocation for increased security at our borders, and stepped-up enforcement relating to the removal of criminal aliens found within our borders. I’m not making that argument now. These are central concerns to us all. That being said, where is the President’s allocation for additional immigration judges? Surely, he set aside money to bolster our immigration courts with additional judges? Nope.

Maybe, just maybe, that extra $200 million could have been utilized to staff our immigration courts with competent judges to preside over the bottleneck of cases that have been created by the new administration’s enforcement first agenda. Wishful thinking.

In fact, the President’s budget has actually allocated less money towards the streamlining of the legal immigration system to support people who are trying to do the right thing by actually FOLLOWING THE LAW. By failing to live up to his campaign promise to meaningfully address comprehensive immigration reform, the President’s enforcement-centric budget from a LEGAL immigrant’s perspective is one more gaping knife wound in the back. Not the Change we were hoping for Mr. President.

So we heard you Mr. President, when you said this year’s budget was designed to “strengthen border security and immigration enforcement.” Your message is loud and clear.

Mr. President, why don’t your policies follow your promises? Every action that you have taken since your election has been to bite the hand of the Hispanic electorate that fed you. Take Notice: those who voted for your Hope and Change aren’t drinking the Kool-aide.

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