After posturing as the friend of recent immigrants in 2012 when he needed the Hispanic vote, Obama is now scrambling to figure out how to speed up deportations as tens of thousands of minor children seek refuge from the horrendous violence plaguing their countries of origin.
The flood of kids braving nightmarish, months-long trips from Central America through lawless regions of Mexico to escape gang impressment, threats, murder and general hopelessness has exposed the conditions the U.S. is directly responsible for in those countries. Reagan openly boosted the neonazis in El Salvador and Guatemala in the 1980s to stave off reform; Clinton wrecked the Mexican economy through NAFTA; and Obama winked at the right-wing coup in Honduras that hardly anyone noticed at the time. As long as U.S. interests were safeguarded, none of them gave a shit about the costs. Now we see them.
Today, all four countries’ principal export seems to be little kids trying to escape the open-air prison camps of Tegucigalpa and San Salvador or the relentless slaughter in Michoacán, Morelia, Juárez and Tampico. All this has been extensively documented and reported, should anyone care to examine the evidence.
Meanwhile, our Republican friends, predictably, are insisting that these little brown people should just go back where they came from. But surely a more humane proposal will be forthcoming from the reasonable, decent-minded Obama team. Right?
That would be the same Obama who has presided over record numbers of deportations during his time in office, some 2 million at last count. Now he has asked for special executive authority to “speed up” the onerous process of finding out if a given child really is facing violence, kidnapping, or death back home. Such a lot of work! USA Today reports:
Under that [current] law, most of the unaccompanied minors being caught by Border Patrol agents must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which coordinates care for them, finds them safe housing and helps advise them on their legal rights as their immigration cases are decided. The president is now asking Congress to amend the law in a way that would allow Border Patrol agents to render a deportation decision themselves and quickly deport the children back to their home country.
All righty, then! No need to worry about parentless, fleeing children who may be forced into a short, violent gang life once they’re sent back. Just “speed up” the process so that we aren’t inconvenienced. Then we can get back to the important stuff: shaping our electoral message for November so that the bad-guy Republicans get blamed for their mean attitudes toward Latinos. Vote for us! We’re not that bad!