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Feb. 22 2010 - 8:54 am | 2,529 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Immigration reform advocates losing patience with Obama

namThe immigration reform crowd is just one of the many constituencies losing patience with President Obama. At New America Media, I have a new article today checking in with activists across the country and how they see the immigration reform battle a year since Obama took office promising sweeping changes. From the advocates’ P.O.V., it doesn’t look pretty. And they’re planning to escalate their campaign:

Subhash Kateel thinks impatience with President Obama’s immigration agenda has begun to boil over. An immigrant advocate in Florida, Kateel says there is a potent mix of frustration and disappointment percolating through immigrant communities nationwide.

President Obama promised sweeping changes to the immigration system before taking office and raised immigrants’ hopes, says Kateel. Instead of delivering, the administration has maintained the status quo: high-handed enforcement tactics that separate families and funnel immigrants into substandard immigration courts and detention centers.

“Yeah, things are changing,” says Kateel, who works for the Miami-based Florida Immigrant Rights Coalition. “They’re getting worse. That’s what we hear on the ground.”

Kateel is one among many immigrant advocates nationwide who sees a need to reignite the immigrant rights battle with more imaginative and hard-hitting tactics.

Besides a planned March 21 protest on the National Mall in Washington, DC in part modeled on the Rev. Martin Luther King’s historic demonstration, advocates have begun endorsing more radical protest tactics. There have been hunger strikes, noisy protests in far-flung unexpected parts of the country, and highly organized efforts to publicly shame public figures who have built their reputations on attacking illegal immigration, such as Lou Dobbs and Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.There has also been an effort to come up with tactics that capture people’s imaginations, like the five South Florida twenty-something community college students who embarked on the “Trail of Dreams,” a 1,500-mile walk from Miami to Washington, DC through some of the southeast’s most bitter immigration battlefields.

Although unemployment and Capitol Hill partisan gridlock make immigration an uphill battle ahead of the November 2010 midterm elections, my article presents the flip-side of that reality. If there’s no good faith effort by the White House on its promises to revamp immigration, there are quite a number of people out there who will be angry, and will not be willing to let the administration off the hook.


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  1. collapse expand

    You are forgetting one thing here-American people are against illegal behavior. We are tired of this invasion. Why be so selfish-the country is under tremendous pressure at this time-so why keep putting your engeries into something that is not going to happen. Illegals to pay their dues first and follow the rules.

  2. collapse expand

    “The immigration reform crowd is just one of the many constituencies losing patience with President Obama.”

    I’m loosing patience with obama, also. I want him to ENFORCE the immigration laws and get these illegal aliens out of this Country and back with their families where they belong.

    obama is one arrogant SOB. He just ignores the will of the people. I hope the new Arizona law passed. States will jump on it to get rid of the illegal aliens. The Federal Government has really failed to protect this Country from the INVASION of the illegal aliens and look what it has cost us. BILLIONS upon BILLIONS every year with no end in sight. You think amnesty will change everything? WRONG! It will make things worse! The big mistake was when Reagan gave amnesty to what was supposed to be 1 million illegal aliens. It turns out to be 3 MILLION!


    Lets hope this passes!


    We are pushing to get the Oklahoma Illegal Immigration Law, HB 1804, passed here in Delaware. WE are tire of the overcrowded schools, overwhelmed hospitals, crime, communities being destroyed and everything else.

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    About Me

    Readers, thanks for your eyeball time, please send tips, corrections, complaints, rants, etc. My email is ballve [at] gmail.com. I was born in Buenos Aires and raised there and in Atlanta, Mexico City and Caracas. I've written and reported on Latin America for almost a dozen years. I started out as an Associated Press reporter and editor in the agency’s Brazil and Caribbean bureaus. In 2007 I co-founded El Sol de San Telmo, a community newspaper in Buenos Aires. I am now a contributing editor for the nonprofit New America Media, Americas correspondent for Amsterdam-based Research World magazine (publication of the international association of market and public opinion researchers), and a 2010-2011 Lemann Fellow at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

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    Contributor Since: June 2009

    What I'm Up To

    • For longer pieces, and a portfolio of published work please see my web page.


    • nam

      Since 2002 I have been a contributing editor at New America Media, where I write about Latin America and the politics of immigration in the United States.

    • 1248375172-waxpoetics__issue36ju_101b

      Wax Poetics issue #36, with my essay on Brazilian singer-songwriter Jards Macalé.

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