Positive steps on immigration not enough

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President Barack Obama made a smart, politically motivated move when he issued an executive order in 2012 to stop the deportation of some immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

It gave him a boost with Latinos who in overwhelming numbers helped him secure a second term.

Obama has now made another strategic move by ordering a review of deportation practices to determine how enforcement can be handled in “more humane ways” for undocumented immigrants, according to a White House statement.

“It’s what we’ve been telling him he can do,” said Tania Unzueta, a national immigration strategist from Chicago who works for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in Washington, D.C.

Among their requests, activists have been pressuring the Obama administration to stop deporting undocumented immigrants who likely would remain in the country under guidelines set in the 2013 Senate immigration reform bill backed by the White House.

“Obviously it’s a response from pressure,” Unzueta said of the president’s move.

It is also an attempt by the administration to stem the tide of shaming set to hit Obama next month.

For months, activists around the country have been planning marches and protests for April to coincide with the administration hitting the 2 million mark for deportations.

In Chicago, protesters will march from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in the city to the detention facility in the suburb of Broadview on April 7, Unzueta said.

“When the 2 million mark comes, he can fall back on something good,” Unzueta said. “So far it’s all bad.”

When pressed in the past to slow or review deportations, Obama essentially has said it’s out of his hands.

Yet, advocates for immigration reform could not be deterred.

This move will not quiet them. It shouldn’t, not as long as ICE continues to give misleading information about deportations and shatters communities with underhanded tactics.


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