Feds have to stop inhumane treatment in deportation
Forget politics for just a moment, forget the oh-so-important "Latino vote" and forget the activists pushing the family togetherness agenda.
Boneheaded. Ham-handed. And let's not forget tone-deaf. These are the only adequate ways to describe the Obama administration's bungling of the issue of illegal immigration.
Forget politics for just a moment, forget the oh-so-important "Latino vote" and forget the activists pushing the family togetherness agenda: You don't pony up 100 million bucks in aid to a country devastated by an earthquake in what is described as "one of the largest relief efforts in history" only to allow Haitian refugees to be thrown into an American gulag immigration detention system by our very own Immigration and Customs Enforcement Keystone Kops.
If you didn't catch last week's New York Times' latest immigration revelation, here it is: Survivors of January's Haiti earthquake who were escorted onto planes by our very own Marine Corps landed in Florida and were immediately arrested and held for deportation -- even though deportations to Haiti were suspended almost immediately after the gravity of the quake was known. Letters and calls for their release went ignored, as were offers of free trauma therapy for these law-abiding victims of a natural disaster who were -- and some still are -- held as criminals in the sometimes bottomless pit of immigration jails.
Let's throw more on the pile: The New York Times heightened awareness of a new study by the Texas Appleseed public interest law center that documented the egregious treatment of mentally ill individuals trapped in federal immigration jails.
The Washington Post uncovered private Immigration and Customs Enforcement memos that encouraged agents to meet "deportation quotas" by going after the low-hanging fruit of those who can be deported quickly -- a k a illegal alien workers -- instead of the violent or otherwise dangerous criminals whose cases take longer to litigate.
But I've gotten carried away ... Let's not get caught up in the myriad ways that the federal government's responsibility to humanely treat even those awaiting a swift farewell from the U.S. for good reason is routinely ignored. Let's focus on boneheaded, ham-handed and tone-deaf.
Look, we all get it: The lip service coming out of this administration says immigration is important, even though month after month after month the issue has been put on the back burner. Immigration law reform never gets mentioned as a major White House agenda item. The moment health-care reform was passed, the talk started about Social Security overhaul, not immigration. And that's fine, it's really not the most pressing issue facing the country at the moment. How about they just come out and say it, though?
OK, so stark honesty from the Obama administration on setting a timeline for a rigorous national conversation on the issue of illegal immigration might be too much to ask this year, but how about some good old-fashioned competence in the meanwhile?
String the ardent supporters along if you must, White House. Go ahead, demand prerequisite Republican support for meaningful, comprehensive immigration law reform -- before the ball even gets rolling -- with a straight face. Keep throwing one-line references to the issue into nationally televised speeches while you're at it.
But in the meantime, run our federal system for processing illegal immigrants with the professionalism that befits this country of immigrants.
No bells and whistles, no red carpets -- just follow the letter of the law when it comes to the dignity and physical well-being required in processing, housing, transporting and caring for such people while they're on our glorious American soil.
And before the administration's left hand points to exemplary humanitarian aid to Haitian earthquake victims, let's make sure the right hand isn't choking the immigrants we deliberately flew here, treating them in the same rough manner as the ones who show up uninvited.