News Release

“Little Humanitarianism” in Obama Immigration Plan

The Guardian reports “Senate grills panel on child immigration crisis.”

AP reports: “Obama is resisting calls to visit the border during his two-day fundraising trip to Texas, where he arrives late Wednesday afternoon. Instead, Obama will hold a meeting hundreds of miles away in Dallas to discuss the crisis with faith leaders and Texas officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

“Obama’s trip comes one day after he asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to get more resources to the border.”

MAEGAN ORTIZ, mala at mamitamalamedia.com, @mamitamala
Los Angeles-based independent journalist and organizer, Ortiz contributes to a number of media outlets and publishes VivirLatino. She recently wrote “Why $3.7 Billion is Not Humanitarianism for Unaccompanied Minors at the Border” which states, “There is little humanitarianism in that $3.7 billion. According the White House $1.8 billion of that will go to Health and Human Services to provide care for the children. It seems that a portion of that is dedicated to free up more money from Border Patrol. … The rest of the $3.7 billion is specifically for deterrence, enforcement and ‘foreign cooperation’. …

“Deterrence means ‘increased detainment and removal of adults with children and increased immigration court capacity to speed cases.’ For an administration that has always claimed that keeping families together is a priority, there is not one line item to actually make this a possibility in the case of these unaccompanied minors. … Enforcement means according to the Office of Management and Budget that the $879 million will be used for ‘the detention, prosecution, and removal of apprehended undocumented families.’ ‘$109 million would provide for immigration and customs enforcement efforts, including expanding the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program, doubling the size of vetted units in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and expanding investigatory activities by ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] Homeland Security Investigations.’

“In other words this money is intended to have a chilling effect reaching far beyond just these children. It really is an expansion of border enforcement in general as was outlined in the often praised ‘compromise’ bill that passed in the Senate last summer. …

“While $64 million is being put into adding more immigration judges to expedite removal proceedings and expanding legal representation for children in proceedings, there are also allocations that have a direct impact in Central America. ’295 million would support efforts to repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America’. Meaning more money is being spent to send people back rather than making sure people here receive due process.”

TODD MILLER, toddmiller70 at hotmail.com
Miller is author of Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security. He said today: “The border enforcement regime that is in place on the U.S. border with Mexico is anything but lax. It is the most massive concentration of agents and resources that we have ever seen in the history of the United States. Never before have there been so many walls, high-powered cameras and radar, implanted motion sensors, and drones. And never before has there been an incarceration and deportation apparatus attached to this that can imprison up to 34,000 people every day, and forcibly expel an average of 400,000 people a year from the country. This does not need another cent dedicated to it. The crisis of 52,000 unaccompanied Central American children arriving to our border is correctly a ‘humanitarian’ one, and they need to be treated like refugees, not criminals. A more long-term answer to this crisis requires a much more holistic debate — which includes an honest discussion of free trade and neoliberal economic policies in Central America, and the impacts of the U.S. sponsored drug war in the region.”