President Obama gives extremists a gift by sending 1,200 National Guard troops to US-Mexican border-New York Daily News
What’s next? Crocodile-infested moats at the border?
The announcement on Tuesday came after Obama’s meeting at the White House with Republican senators, who had demanded troops be deployed at the border, ostensibly to combat drug smuggling.
But to many, it seemed just another administration cave in to anti-immigrant extremists without getting anything in return.
In the meantime, even though it is clear that a show of force alone cannot solve the immigration crisis, reform remains hostage to political opportunists more worried about their prospects in upcoming midterm elections than on the well-being of the nation.
But let those intent on sweeping immigration reform – the lives of 12 million people – under a rug of political expediency be warned: It’s not happening.
Here in New York that much became evident following the arrests on Monday of Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights), Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and 35 others in an act of civil disobedience – the second in as many weeks – at 26 Federal Plaza.
More than 100 people, including local clergy, labor, elected and community leaders, linked arms to block traffic in front of the federal building.
The protestors demanded immediate action on immigration reform. Speakers also urged the Obama administration to stop Arizona‘s racist law and to place a moratorium on deportations.
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) promised the crowd she would redouble her efforts in Congress to pass immigration reform.
The number arrested was more than double the 16 taken into custody by the NYPD the previous week.
“More and more people are participating. Clearly there is a sense in the immigrant community that this is a desperate situation and that Congress has to act without delay,” said Héctor Figueroa, SEIU Local 32BJ secretary-treasurer and one of the arrested.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), author of the House’s only introduced immigration legislation, was arrested earlier this month at a protest in front of the White House.
A third round of civil disobedience is slated for Tuesday focusing on immigrants in the armed forces.
“Immigrant veterans will engage in civil disobedience, it’s going to be a good activity,” said Figueroa.
The protest was the latest in a wave of immigration-related civil disobedience sweeping the nation. It followed actions in Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, Detroit, San Francisco and Seattle.
On Saturday hundreds are expected to march through the streets of Phoenix in what has been dubbed a National Day of Solidarity with Arizona. Demonstrators will protest SB1070 and demand an end to the politics of terror against immigrant workers and families.
“I think it is time for me and others across the nation to exercise our constitutional right to dissent,” Espaillat said, explaining why he took part in civil disobedience.
It is also time to consider who will get the Hispanic and the immigrant vote in the coming midterm elections.
“We can no longer wait for politicians to squeeze every last political point out of this issue; we need real leadership that is focused on solutions, not headlines,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council.