Obama Is Our "Frenemy"—An Open Letter to Latinos

Obama Is Our "Frenemy"—An Open Letter to Latinos

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Local media is abuzz with news of President Obama's visit to San Francisco. Unfortunately for immigration policy and for the noble cause of immigrant rights, the media coverage reflects the editorial filters built up by the multimillion-dollar media apparatus set up by Obama's immigrant rights allies in Washington, D.C., who are still seen by the press as the official voice of immigrants in the United States.

Consciously or not, these D.C. groups, their leaders, and their – until very recently – ominous silence about Obama's radical immigration policies have so conditioned the ears of journalists and editors to the faux-applause and the JumboTron sound of support, to the sickly "Sí Se Puede" legalization of it all, that anyone talking about Obama's repressive and devastating immigration policies sounds and looks like what SF Weekly wrote about activist Prerna Lal, who is currently in deportation proceedings: marginal and out of the mainstream.

Dangerous stuff. I've been traveling around the country a lot lately and am sickened of stories like what's happening to Prerna, countless cases of immigrant children forced to watch in terror as their parents are treated like criminals and taken away forever by ICE – the agency Obama has the power to tell, "Stop it, stop it immediately."

Failure to bring the Obama administration to some reasonable, concrete relief for DREAMers, or around cooperation agreements between local police and federal immigration authorities, like 287(g) and Secure Communities, will bring the bar of immigrant and Latino respect to even more dangerous lows. Democratic and Republican politicians and their allies will see that they can get away with continued repression without paying a political price. Such perception will, I fear, result in even more unprecedented terror and devastation of a community perceived to know no lower limits to its self-disrespect when its says "Sí Se Puede" in support of the administration that is breaking records as the most violent and repressive in the history of the immigrant United States.

Fortunately, we – not they – are the ones we have been waiting for.

I know many of you who will not allow Obama to glide through Latino communities as if he has not been the commander in chief of the war on immigrants. If things don't change soon, any and all Obama Latino events should be subject to non-violent actions that defend both immigrants and our self-respect and dignity. Even his closest allies have communicated the need to take action on urgent matters like the deportation of DREAMers and the 287(g) and Secure Communities programs. If he doesn't heed them, then he is clearly committed to moving beyond being a “frenemy” of immigrants, one deserving of having his electoral campaign aspirations dropped and devastated in Latino communities with the same zeal with which he and his administration prosecute the war on immigrants in Latino communities.

We cannot allow people to humiliate, attack and terrorize Latinos and still have Latinos singing their praises. Without relief for immigrants, we should make support for Obama's re-election – and for the election of violent Republicans – synonymous with being what we used to call "vendidos" or "sellouts" in a previous political era. The moral reality is there to do so as is the urgent necessity.

Thankfully, I think the will and courage are there too. I am very proud of those who are teaching Obama and his allies what living hope and heart-driven change look like. Please enlist me in your heroic effort as I find great edification and inspiration in your actions.

For his own dignity and for ours, I hope President Obama does the right thing and stops the terror and devastation against immigrants.

Respectfully,

R


Roberto Lovato is co-founder of Presente.org.


 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Apr 21 2011

Amen brother.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 21 2011

What do people expect? Ordinary Americans are absolutely fed up with illegal aliens, especially those who broke the law and then "demand" some sort of amnesty. Is Obama supposed to let people who entered the country illegally, used false identification, worked illegally and looked the other way as other did the same off the hook? Are ordinary citizens supposed to this this is acceptable?
NO WAY!

Anonymous

Posted Apr 21 2011

The FACT is that our hispanic community did not vote in 2010 and build his group of supporters in the congress. We don't get what we need because it's the right and decent thing to do, we live with the others who DO vote who want things their way. Our superior numbers mean nothing if they don't show up at the voting booth. That's the American way.
Jose Batista

Anonymous

Posted Apr 22 2011

I was impressed by this writer's eloquent and professional manner in which he expressed his thoughts, so careful to speak truth without naming los vendidos - but only naming faceless Democrats and using derogatory terms when referring to Republicans. I will not be so careful - so i will name LULAC and NCLR as two of the most out spoken entities during the Bush era to write, speak, organize, and invest in attacking the republican president, but not so when it is a democrat - that funds their entities with millions of dollars.

Similar to Arcon, these organizations push only one political agenda - DNC without any hesitation. So why should we, as Latinos, expect them to speak out in an organized and public way when one of their own - continues to terrorize Latinos that can't vote - oh, that is it - we care only if you VOTE, and since undocumented immigrants can't vote, yet, they get used for political strategies events only - such as this bogus meeting on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at the White House that lasted only 1 one - as part of Obama's 2012 re-election meetings.

Eliud Gautier

Anonymous

Posted Apr 22 2011

I was impressed by this writer's eloquent and professional manner in which he expressed his thoughts, so careful to speak truth without naming los vendidos - but only naming faceless Democrats and using derogatory terms when referring to Republicans. I will not be so careful - so i will name LULAC and NCLR as two of the most out spoken entities during the Bush era to write, speak, organize, and invest in attacking the republican president, but not so when it is a democrat - that funds their entities with millions of dollars.

Similar to Arcon, these organizations push only one political agenda - DNC without any hesitation. So why should we, as Latinos, expect them to speak out in an organized and public way when one of their own - continues to terrorize Latinos that can't vote - oh, that is it - we care only if you VOTE, and since undocumented immigrants can't vote, yet, they get used for political strategies events only - such as this bogus meeting on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at the White House that lasted only 1 one - as part of Obama's 2012 re-election meetings.

Eliud Gautier

Anonymous

Posted Apr 22 2011

I find it ironic that for the bulk of your letter, you write as if this only affects the Latino community, but then you offer up the case of Prerna Lal (who is Asian) as a call to action. Latino's will never progress on the issue of immigration if they continue to be so insular and refuse to build coalitions with other communities who can help them. Yes, you are the largest minority group now, but you're still a minority, meaning, you don't have the numbers to make significant change in this country without reaching out to other communities; something, I believe, is not happening. I believe that's a large part of why the DREAM Act failed last year. It was framed as a "Latino" issue, and not as an issue affecting non-Latinos or the larger American community. I wish you luck, but unless there are changes in the movement in terms of inclusiveness, you're gonna continue to get the same result: failure.

One last thing, if you're withdrawing support from Obama, what candidate are you backing for the 2012 presidential election? A republican? Good luck with that. For the record, I think Obama hasn't done enough on immigration issues, and has implemented an enforcement-only solution, which has proven to be a big disappointment. But I will be backing him in the 2012 election - with it being his last term, perhaps he will grow some balls.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 22 2011

Obama knows that ordinary US citizens are fed up with selfish illegal aliens. However he still wants the Hispanic vote as is willing to discuss amnesty to "trick" those hispanics who are for amnesty into voting for him.
Will people fall for this a second time? Amnesty isn't going to ever pass.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 22 2011

WHY is this letter/story listed under the "African" ethnicity tab? Underhanded birther jab? Absolutely offensive and ignorant. You need to be trying to make allies in the Black community instead of alienating them with underhanded b.s. like this. Unfortunately, just proves people of color can be racist too. Sad.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 22 2011

Obama knows that ordinary US citizens are fed up with selfish illegal aliens. However he still wants the Hispanic vote as is willing to discuss amnesty to "trick" those hispanics who are for amnesty into voting for him.
Will people fall for this a second time? Amnesty isn't going to ever pass.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 24 2011

Obama has decided to feed vulnerable economic refugees to the for-profit private prison industry after vehemently promising on the campaign trail to pass immigration reform his first year in office. Private prisons are getting billions in federal contracts to house people suspected of being here illegally. That US citizens have also been wrongfully detained and deported is of no concern to the Democrats. Of course, Obama only has Hispanics detained. Illegal immigrants from places like Russia and Ireland whose numbers are large in New York City are left untouched.

This is a man awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. What a joke.

I will not vote for Obama in 2012, and having been a Democrat my whole life, I am now done with the party. Maybe when the disaster that is Obama is gone, I will return.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 26 2011

All the fools voted for Obama. Anyone who can read a newspaper would have known that amnesty was never going to pass because ordinary Americans are against it.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 17 2011

I can tell you this , play with the people's minds like in the mid-term elections and you will get just what your asking for! If you think by threating the President it will help ,I am here to tell you it wont!
The only thing you are doing is alienating voters and if you don't watch it you will have the Republicans in charge ,who hates everybody!
So if you want any chance for your families you had better hope and pray that President Obama gets re-elected or PACK-YOUR-BAGS !
justo agarre bien cie'rrado,nosotros wil vencer! voto porque President Obama!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 17 2011

I can tell you this , play with the people's minds like in the mid-term elections and you will get just what your asking for! If you think by threating the President it will help ,I am here to tell you it won't!
The only thing you are doing is alienating voters and if you don't watch it you will have the Republicans in charge ,who hates everybody!
So if you want any chance for your families you had better hope and pray that President Obama gets re-elected or PACK-YOUR-BAGS !
justo agarre bien cie'rrado,nosotros wil vencer! voto porque President Obama!

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