Yesterday, I wrote an article about the obvious dissent that was brewing in the black American community because President Barack Obama has spoken out so diligently on behalf of Mexican-Americans and the D.R.E.A.M. act, literally circumventing congress to ensure that Mexican children brought to the States at an early age be allowed a clear path to citizenship as opposed to deportation.

In the article I discussed why we shouldn’t get upset at Mexicans for demanding legislation, while we wait and expect Obama to realize that paying attention to the specific ills that plague the black community should be addressed because, “Gosh darn it, it’s the right thing to do.”

That’s not happening, not in this lifetime nor the next.

In an opinion piece for TheGrio.com, Steven Forrester discusses the fact that Haitian-Americans “have a dream, too.” Sadly, the disparities in how the Obama Administration addresses the parallel issues illuminates the president’s lack of moral compass:

On May 24, Haitian-American elected and community leaders held a press conference at North Miami City Hall to express their disappointment with the president for failing to expedite Haitian family reunification, despite bipartisan support for such relief dating back 29 months to Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake.  Their disappointment was widely reported locally and could have national repercussions.

The issue involves 112,000 beneficiaries of family based visa petitions who, despite Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approvals, remain on 3 to 11-year waiting lists in Haiti, where many may not survive given the conditions there.  Expediting their entry into the United States has precedent and bipartisan support because it would save their lives and generate badly needed remittances to help Haiti recover, while costing virtually nothing.

Nor is congressional action needed; just a White House instruction to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.  But it hasn’t been forthcoming: there has been only silence, thus the Haitian community’s disappointment, now being increasingly expressed in public.

If ever there was a heartbreaking situation that illustrates my point, this is it. Instead of talking about Mexicans like filth, how “lazy” they are, how they’re “manipulating the system,” you know those same stereotypes that white people throw on us, maybe our time would be better spent getting behind this issue and actually pushing for something, instead of against something for other people?

Or, the complainers can just sit around, throwing side-eyes at their Obama ’08 t-shirts, and wait another 4 years because “he’s going to really go in this term, he has nothing to lose!”

Let me know how that works out.

 

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    Most constituencies demand something for their votes. That’s how politics is supposed to work. I’ll vote for you if you do this for me. Every other group seems to understand this except African Americans. Granted some of the reason for this is the good cop/ bad cop routine the Democrats and Republicans have been pulling on us making us feel as though we have no real choice.

    But since we haven’t asked the President to do anything for our votes we are getting exactly what we’ve asked for, nothing. So the President knows that in order to gain so-called Hispanic votes he has to actually do something for them. To gain White and Jewish and Asian votes he has to actually do something for them.

    But for us he knows as everyone else knows that 95% of African American voters are going to vote for Obama no matter what. So why work for it. We’ve put our collective selves in a situation where we don’t have any political power. We can’t demand Haitians receive the same treatment as Mexicans. We can’t demand special programs to combat the higher than average unemployment rate amongst Black Americans. We can’t demand anything.

    So unless we begin to ask for something in return for our votes we’ll always be sitting on the sidelines while other groups collect their political spoils.

  • Pat

    +1

  • Your Name

    Here’s why: Haitians do not make up 16% of the US population

  • Jolie

    THE DREAM ACT IS NOT ONLY FOR MEXICANS, BUT ALL IMMIGRANTS WHO QUALIFY FOR IT. PLEASE READ AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS DREAM ACT IF YOU ARE AN IMMIGRANT AND QUALIFY FOR IT. GO TO USCIS.GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION.

  • Bea

    Does the author of this article realize that the executive order passed will not just apply to Mexicans? SMH at the ignorance.

  • Bea

    The executive order will apply to every immigrant not just Mexicans. The thing is, illegal immigration is always pinned down as Mexican but in reality, there are illegal Asians, Europeans, Africans etc in this country. Also if Mexican Americans can fight for their rights, so should other people. We can’t expect Obama to do everything for us. This is ridiculous. If you want something done, let your voice be heard. That’s what MLK did and that is what the Mexicans have done.

  • Bea

    Thank you Jolie. This author of this article is obviously quite misinformed.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    For the most part this is true, but I think more AA are becoming more vocal about not getting the attention they deserve spear headed by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. The question is what issue does the President needs to address that is exclusive to AA and no one else.

  • Amber

    Thank you to the last few commentors for enlightening me. I did not know that, and I wish the writer had actually read it.

  • befree

    Sigh.. an executive order might be designated to ALL, but that doesn’t mean it will be APPLIED to all. If we know anything about black history, legislation doesn’t mean squat if it is DOES NOT make it to our communities and applied fairly. I can list government action after action that was suppose to be for Everyone, but we were excluded. From the Homestead act to the G.I Bil to New Deal to the 2012 Stimulus. Sorry, but I predict there will be a racial disparity with black immigrants not benefiting.

  • Kirsten West Savali

    Hello all:

    First of all, the D.R.E.A.M. Act has not been passed. Let’s get that fact straight first. And, of course, I have read the executive order.

    Secondly, the article is centered around Latino/Hispanic population in context of the article because that is where the argument comes in.– that the President is pandering to their vote — which he is. Not Asians, not Africans, not Europeans.

    If you care to read the original article, I fully support the D.R.E.A.M Act and the president’s decision. It’s the right thing to do. However, again, the controversy and political maneuvering around it centers on the Latino/Hispanic community.

    Just one source (AP):

    “I’m very grateful that President Obama has decided, after a great amount of pressure from DREAMers, to give us administrative relief,” said activist Felipe Matos, national director of the GetEqual.org campaign, which defends the rights of undocumented students.

    Matos, who is of Brazilian origin, is one of the hundreds of thousands of young people who will benefit from Obama’s reform.

    But he warned Romney “is in trouble with Latino voters and he will continue to dig a deep hole for himself unless he decides to support President Obama’s decision to stop deportation of DREAMers.”

    “Ninety percent of Latino voters support the DREAM Act, and he pledged to veto it. Now he doesn’t seem compelled to give us a clear answer whether or not he would commence deporting DREAM Act eligible youth if he gets elected.”

    In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last month, Obama led Romney among registered Hispanic voters, 61 to 27 percent.

    Romney has taken a tough stand on illegal immigrants, and at one point was proposing that those in the country illegally should voluntarily go back to their countries and join the back of the line for a visa.

    Questioning the president’s timing in unveiling the policy, Romney on Sunday accused Obama of political brinkmanship in relying on “stopgap measures” rather than a long-term fix.

    “If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months,” Romney told CBS.

    Asked whether politics were behind Obama’s decision, Romney said: “That’s certainly a big part of the equation.”

    Administration officials have said the Obama reform could impact around 800,000 youthful illegal immigrants. The Pew Hispanic Center said up to 1.4 million children and young adults could benefit.

    The Center said that 2008 Hispanics made up 7.4 percent of voters, with a record 10 million turning out to cast their ballots.”

    ^ This is why the conversation is centered around the Hispanic/Latino vote — not because I am unaware.

    I hope that clarifies things somewhat.

    Thanks for reading,

    K

  • Nicole

    He’s only one person! It would be impossible for him to look at the problem for EVERY group of people and come up with a solution. Not to mention unfair.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @Kirsten,

    *****waving*****

    Just wanted to let you know, that I appreciate the fact, you ALWAYS, without fail engage your audience! Be it from answering questions, calming my madness-lool!, re-stating your position, It is APPRECIATED, good looking out!!

  • Kirsten West Savali

    @African Mami:

    *Waving wildly*

    Say hey, hey, Sis! Long time, no hear from. :-)

    Thanks for that; I try my best. Sometimes people just need to know their opinions are valid too and I value them all. I really do — as long as its respectful. That’s what dialogue is all about.

  • befree

    Huh.. that’s why he has a Cabinet and an Administration. No one expects him to go to every single person’s house and ask what they need personally.

  • apple

    I thought immigrant meant anyone who wasn’t born here? Wouldn’t they , Africans,Hispanics, Asians and even Europeans be included?

  • raah

    LOVE how you close on the idea that we’d get farther pushing to be included rather than throwing shade.

    Also want to clarify that this wasn’t an executive order but a policy directive through Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/s1-exercising-prosecutorial-discretion-individuals-who-came-to-us-as-children.pdf
    (Hence my trouble finding it on whitehouse.gov)

  • http://www.amandamichellejones.com AmandaMichelleJones (@AmandaMichelle)

    not only this, but what about those who were brought/allowed after the earthquake? the order isn’t just for mexicans but it does have specific requirements. somebody who was uprooted from a foreign country & brought here, likely with health problems/injuries is probably not in school or serving our military. they may also be well over 16 years of age.

    we don’t have to state things uber-bluntly to see what’s going on. i love POTUS, but we can’t deny the truths in this article.

  • http://gravatar.com/yaryars4u2 YarYar

    None is as blind as those who refuse to see.

  • Carioca

    Yes, thanks Jolie. The shame here is the misinformation in this article or the fact that folks are not paying attention, or actively involved enough to know the the executive order is for any immigrant child brought here through no fault of their own. The writer here need to et her fact straight and get the correct information in front of her community, so that she can really help them move forward.

  • Barb

    Black people complain too much. How long did African-Americans complain over the implicitly discriminatory disparity between crack and cocaine sentencing? It was one of the chief “civil rights issues” that we complained about for years. When Barack Obama passed the Fair Sentencing Act, I barely heard a peep.

  • Womp womp

    What…Haitians…America. What!? Pointless argument. Really.

  • http://gravatar.com/blackfeminista Black Feminista

    Kristen,

    Thanks for this very interesting article. I believe, however, it is the media (and some Latino leaders) who is centering the directive around Latino community, not the President himself. The media could just as easily interview Haitian leaders or leaders of black immigrant communities for their response to this particular directive, so that people can speak for themselves and the we can hear directly from them.

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