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Obama’s Flip Flop on Deportations

The president's credibility with Latino voters on this and other issues is at low ebb.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Bio

April 13, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Recently, President Obama and I had a parting of ways over deporting illegal immigrants.

Not that Obama and I ever saw eye to eye on this issue and many others. In fact, in October 2008, I wrote a column urging Latinos to vote for John McCain to pay back the many years of support that the GOP presidential nominee had shown for their causes and concerns.

In the end, two-thirds of Latinos did a dumb thing. They voted for a candidate who — while he came from Chicago, which is now nearly 30 percent Latino — had a scant record of accomplishments on behalf of Latinos.

Thus, Obama had essentially gotten something for nothing, and that would set the tone for his relationship with the Latino community once he was elected president. He would continue to do what he thought to be in his own best interests, even if it meant going against the interests of Latinos. And then he would lie about it, and try to convince those Latinos who had supported him that he was firmly in their corner.

Nowhere is that more in evidence than in his record and policy on deportations.

I was in the room with other journalists, in the summer of 2008, when the presidential candidate told a gathering of the National Council of La Raza: “When communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel, when all that is happening, the system just isn’t working, and we need to change it.”

When I heard those remarks — as the son of a retired law enforcement officer, and someone who supports deportations – I cringed. Aside from the hyperbole about “nursing mothers torn from their babies,” why have immigration agents in the first place if we’re not going to let them do their jobs — however unpleasant the outcome might be. Illegal immigrants made the choice to come to the United States without permission, or to overstay a visa, and with choices come consequences — for them and their families.

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