Since President Barack Obama announced a D.R.E.A.M Act – esque measure, allowing children of so-called “illegal” immigrants to avoid deportation, some factions of the Black American community have been in an uproar with the same old cry of “What has he done for Black people?” “He speaks out for everyone but us!” “That does it, I’m not voting for him!”
There are several reasons why that school of thought is insane.
No, it’s not stupid to expect more from our president concerning the specific ills that plague the black community; however, it is the height of insanity to expect more from him than he ever said he would be — all because he’s half black, sang a few notes of Al Green and has a mean jump shot. He has maintained that he is the president for “all” Americans.
Translation: Democrats can count on the majority of black folks like the first and fifteenth — regardless of policy — so don’t expect too much.
If you want to get upset because he’s behind the bombing of African babies, back-peddling on EPA standards and oil drilling, as well as backing away from legislation that protected children of farmers from dangerous equipment, then I’m all for it. But you can miss me completely with the “he’s not black enough” argument, because it’s not worth a penny with a hole in it.
Which leads me back to his stance on immigration. My position actually aligns with the president on this one. (GASP!) He is on the diplomatic and moral high ground for several reasons:
1.) Mexico is so inextricably tied to the United States — seeing as how Texas, California and some parts of Arizona once were Mexico — it makes perfect sense that an imperialistic (re: neo-conservative) government would fight harder to keep their hard-fought “win” intact. They arrogantly want Mexicans to “stay over there.” Well, actually, “here” belonged to them first and it makes much more diplomatic sense to work with families than against them.
2.) The president’s stance is that it doesn’t make sense to provide immigrant children social and public services, sometimes even a college degree, then ship them somewhere to be a benefit to another country besides the U.S. In addition, of course, to securing votes for his re-election. It’s not just political capital, but national capital.
3.) The same conservatives who benefit the most from immigrants being here are the same ones calling for them to be deported…publicly. Not because they want them gone, but because they don’t want them recognized as humans deserving of public services and fair wages. The sad misconception is that they don’t work; when in fact, they work their asses off for pennies. I’ve seen entirely families in East Los Angeles live in studio apartments to make ends meet. The department of agriculture has stated said that without their “illegal” labor, the price of fruit and vegetables would rise dramatically in this country (Read here). Immigrants are not going anywhere, anytime soon — and Republicans know it. They are nothing but a political tool to them, as we all are. Political tools that should be treated humanely — as we all should — not like slaves.
To those opponents who claim that “illegal” immigrants broke the law, my answer would be that the children did not break the law — and the D.R.E.A.M. Act is for them. To those who use the “sins of the fathers” argument, if that were the case, all Europeans (and their historical slaves) should pack up and leave the entire nation to Native Americans.
The point is that taking a diplomatic approach instead of herding children and young adults like chattel and removing them from the only country they’ve known is admirable. True, their parents may have “broken the law,” but when laws are unjust, they need to be re-evaluated. That has been the case throughout this nation’s history.
An even larger issue here is the apathy that many black Americans hold for the ballot. The Latino bloc has proven to be swing voters — and they should be respected for it — while many black people have not. And until that happens, blame and anger can not be directed at the Latino/Hispanic population, nor to politicians. That anger should strictly be reserved for the (wo)men in the mirror.
Until that happens, every other demographic will get legislation passed that is directly, openly and with no reservation geared toward their communities. And we’ll get the news — slow jammed.