1. How do you rate Obama administration polices toward U.S.-Mexico border and immigration policy over the past year?
Border policy: politically opportunistic, financially wasteful, and predictably ineffective.
Immigration policy: marginal improvements over some crude Bush enforcement practices, overall institutionalization and increased funding of immigrant crackdown and imprisonment, no effective commitment (and no leadership or vision) for reform, no apparent concern about huge costs of crackdown that comes only with high social costs and few, if any, economic benefits.
Border security programs at DHS and DOJ are largely comprised of pork-barrel projects for local law enforcement, Border Patrol, and other federal law enforcement that continue failed drug war, crime war, anti-immigrant war campaigns.
Immigration policy agenda is particularly reprehensible because instilling false hopes for reform while detaining, imprisoning, and deporting more immigrants (legal and illegal) through programs that could easily be constrained and refocused through administrative decree.
2. What do you expect to see from the administration in 2010?
* More hard-line rhetoric, funding initiatives, and programs for border security, responding to political demands from region and its own effort to bolster its security credentials.
* No real leadership to effect immigration reform.
* Continue to condescendingly dismiss constructive proposals for drug decriminalization and end to drug war overseas.
3. What policy changes are needed in your area/region for 2010?
* Administration should call end to “enforcement-first” immigration policy, noting policy’s multibillion dollar price tag, its tragic impact on
* Obama officially ends “war on drugs” and invigorates national and international debate by leading collective call for an end to drug prohibition policies and a commitment to treat regular use of harmful drugs with medical programs and education.
* Call a halt to exorbitantly expensive, unproven, mismanaged SBInet (virtual fence), and tear down border fence outside of border cities.
* Refocus Homeland Security away from ideologically driven immigration enforcement and border security to targeted intelligence gathering on prospective threats.
4. What stories from your area/region do you think could potentially capture the headlines in 2010?
* The scandalous waste of billions in economic recovery funds for wasteful border infrastructure (ports of entry, Border Patrol stations, etc) and border criminal justice programs that ply local law enforcement with politically motivated funding.
* Homeland Security as a haven for private contractors like Boeing, CACI, Lockheed Martin that manage themselves and provide no effective goods or services, like virtual fence and information systems.
* The administration’s unconvincing song-and-dance about its support for immigration reform without any real leadership or political muscle to advance reform. Bush immigration stance anew.
* The unsustainable price of the immigrant crackdown, immigrant imprisonment, and border security. It’s breaking the budget without any effective focus on security.Photo: Obama the candidate promising what Latinos wanted to hear at National Council of La Raza convention.