Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Criminals than Immigrants in Obama's Immigration Reform Proposal

Border security trumps immigration reform,
 evident in border wall securing America against Tijuana/ Tom Barry

President Obama insists that we need to “fix the broken immigration system” in a way that “everyone plays by the rules.” According to the White House – in its immigration reform Fact Sheet – not only is the U.S. immigration system broken but so too (echoing alarms sounded by the border hawks) are our borders.

Leading the new push for immigration reform, the president outlined the principles and regulations of his proposed reform a week after his inauguration in January. Although the proposal contains many laudable components – notably protections for worker rights – the White House’s concept of immigration reform appears more akin to a criminal justice or national security measure than an initiative concerning immigration, labor mobility, and social justice.

Ultimately, the prospects for immigration reform depend more on the political tussles in Congress than what the White House says. Yet President Obama did legitimize the notion that immigration reform is fundamentally connected to the precepts of border security and national security – and that the reform had more to do with breaking the laws that playing by the rules.

Immigration reform is framed by the White House within the context of the post-9/11 imperative of border security and counterterrorism.  The term security appears 23 times in the White House’s immigration proposal fact sheet – variously referring to national security, homeland security, border security, or community security.

Also indicative of the crackdown policy at the core of the proposal is the frequent reference to crime and criminals – terms that appear 17 times in the fact sheet about immigration reform, while the term immigrant appears three fewer times. 

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