Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama makes tough but right choice in continuing ICE raids for undocumented workers; these times require sacrifice -- here grudgingly is mine

President Obama has set off a wave of outrage throughout the Hispanic advocacy community across America this week by continuing the Bush administration policy of ICE raids of workplaces for undocumented workers.

This move comes despite his wife's promise to Hispanic leaders at the Democratic Party National Convention that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids of workplaces would stop. The raids have become inhumane to worker families and due process in this nation.

I have opposed such raids in my writing and advocacy. But the economic times have changed so severely. First-time jobless claims for American citizens reached almost 700,000 people, show figures released today. There ia growing need for work, any work in this land. And undocumented immigrants cannot be allowed to take these jobs.

Their removal from this country will force employers to pay somewhat higher wages to get American citizens into the jobs. Ultimately, the resources of this nation belong to its citizens first. These are extra-ordinary times, as the loss of wealth in this nation has easily eclipsed that of the Great Depression.

It pains me to support the ICE raids. But it is imperative to remove people who do not have the legal right to hold those jobs. They must be made available first for the relief and support of citizens here and those people legally here.

While the Hispanic advocacy community has been critical of Obama for this move, it was an inevitable one in keeping with the economic times ... and the rule of law. More strongly enforcing immigration laws will help citizens in need. They must come first.

Undocumented human beings, however, should still be treated humanely and constitutionally. The 287g deportation program in Nashville and 60 other places around the country does not meet those standards. If Obama is going to treat terrorists more humanely, then he should also do so with undocumented immigrants in returning them home.

And terrorists should be kept off American soil like undocumented immigrants.

I wish there was a better way and these were more healthy economic times. But they are not. These times require responsibility and sacrifice on the personal and governmental levels. And so this nation has no choice but to free up jobs for its citizens first, and that should be a priority for the Obama administration.

Before being Hispanic, I am an American first. That is the deepest of my roots here, besides my Christian faith. And so it is for my extended family as well.

No matter our ethnicity, we all cannot afford to be anything but Americans first -- not even Republicans or Democrats -- if this nation and its citizens are to survive the next several years of the Great Recession.

May God help us all to make the right decisions.

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