Protesting Napolitano: “One event that we didn’t want to have”


By Douglas Rivlin, National Immigration Forum
Cross post from the ImmiPolitics Blog

The Washington Times notes with a certain amount of glee that immigrants and advocates for immigration reform are growing impatient with the Obama administration and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s extension of Bush-era immigration enforcement policies. The flagship conservative newspaper representing the wing of the GOP that opposes legal immigration and legal status for immigrants here illegally – and opposes the President and his administration on almost everything – described what one pro-immigrant advocate said is “the sense of betrayal creeping up” with regard to Secretary Napolitano and the President’s handling of immigration.

Activists marched in Los Angeles and picketed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s appearance in New York, angered over the administration’s recent embrace of an electronic verification system for employers and a program that allows local police to enforce immigration laws.

The protests highlight the tough political spot Mr. Obama faces: He enjoyed strong support from Hispanics in last year’s election, but activists say he’s now risking their support in the future.

“I see the sense of betrayal creeping up,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, which organized the protest against Ms. Napolitano.

The coalition said the administration is using the right words on immigrant rights but taking the wrong actions to boost enforcement.

“A lot of people see the actions of Secretary Napolitano going in the opposite direction of the reform President Obama promised,” she said.

It is an odd day indeed when Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ranking Minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee and President Obama’s leading opponent on immigration reform, is defending the Obama administration on the issue. The same article in the Washington Times reports that Rep. Smith supports a recent effort by the Obama administration to refuse to create accountability and oversight in immigration detention by establishing basic Homeland Security detention guidelines. (See related ImmPolitic post here)

There is a growing drumbeat of concern that escalating enforcement of the current system – which everyone knows must change – is the wrong priority for Secretary Napolitano who has been charged by the President with leading the comprehensive immigration reform legislative effort. Among advocates, there is a great deal of optimism that real progress towards reform continues on Capitol Hill and behind the scenes in the Obama administration. Legislation in the Senate is expected in September with a full scale debate to follow.

But thousands of immigrants will be deported in the meantime, families will be split apart, businesses will shut down, and people’s lives will be forever harmed.

Chung-Wha Hong of the New York Immigration Coalition continues in the Washington Times article:

Ms. Hong said the Obama administration is using all the right words about backing a broad immigration bill but is taking “massive enforcement actions.”

She also said stepping up enforcement of “dysfunctional and unenforceable” laws is not a solution, and said the activists hope to push Mr. Obama away from enforcement and back toward his campaign promises.

“Today was the one event that we didn’t want to have,” she said. “We didn’t want to be protesting President Obama’s immigration policy and Napolitano’s policy, it really pains us to be picketing.”


5 Responses to Protesting Napolitano: “One event that we didn’t want to have”

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Delaware Bob
    July 31, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I for one, am sick and tired of these ILLEGAL ALIENS snubbing their nose at our immigration laws and the many other laws of this Country. If our Federal Government can not ENFORCE our immigration laws, and get these ILLEGAL ALIENS out of this Country, then let the States do it! One way or another, an end has to come to this illegal immigration, and not with AMNESTY! Amnesty will only encourage more ILLEGAL ALIENS to invade our Country and reward those who broke our laws and raped the American taxpayer in many ways…depressing our wages, taking our jobs, overwhelming our schools with their ILLEGAL ALIEN children, driving without a license or car insurance, all the crime from stolen identities to rape, drugs and everything else.

    It’s time for ZERO TOLERENCE with these ILLEGAL ALIENS. It’s time for them get out of this Country and back in their own Country where they belong. When we get rid of the ILLEGAL ALIENS, we will get rid of all the problems that go with them. THAT IS A FACT!

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Delaware Bob
    July 31, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    One more thing. Families WILL NOT be separated. You can take your illegal alien children with you. Nobody is stopping you. Your children belong with you and I’m sure they will like their new country. This is not their country.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Francisco
    August 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Dear Delaware Bob:

    Your intolerance talks by itself about you. It must be very sad to live with such an amount of anger inside you.

    Take it easy, no matter what you say, and no matter how many times you writte in these forums; Immigration is part of this country, and It will continue being it.

    Take a break, have fun.


  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Ron
    August 1, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Forget about illegal immigrants, no one is paying attention to LEGAL immigrants holding master’s and PhD, contributing to the US economy with their inventions and engineering and yet living a life of a prisoner. US immigration law does not allow permanent resident of the US to bring their family over (spouse and children) in realistic time frame. Seven years to be united with your spouse and your own child. Now you go figure why the divorce rate is so high and American familes are falling apart. Individualism is what all this country is about and have no respect for families.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Blowing Winds
    August 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm


    (fingers in ears) “Nya nya nya nya nya!”

    What silly words you use “No matter what you say, not matter what you do, Francisco has the power!” LOL (to condescend that is).

    This is a nation of laws, Delaware Bob’s tone is neither “sad” nor does it indicate intolerance nor “talk by itself” about Bob.

    This is a nation of Laws, so it is only natural that those who break the law attract anger and disgust by the citizens of this country.

    We could never afford this flood of outsiders pushing in to score cash in our home. That is all these outside people want.

    They are all already citizens in other countries, now they want money here by breaking our laws and spitting in our faces.

    No dice. Our own money is not coming back again (housing collapse, manufacturing collapse, economic collapse, employment collapse, etc.).

    We cannot afford these outside people and no other country on earth would even discuss something like this.

    Our laws are being enforced now, and after some new elections you can be sure our laws will be enforced more and more.

    The era of Criminal Illegal Trespassing is over, the Era of Law Enforcement is here to stay.