Actress and political activist Eva Longoria may have played a prominent role in President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, but she's not entirely satisfied with the way his administration has handled immigration.
In an appearance on HuffPost Live on Tuesday, Longoria criticized the record-level deportations under Obama as well as the Secure Communities program, which requires local law enforcement to share fingerprint data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to identify deportable immigrants. The Obama administration has deported roughly 400,000 immigrants per year, far surpassing his predecessors.
"It is saddening to see those numbers," Longoria told HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. "They are at an all time high. I think the Secure Communities program has proven to be not as effective at zeroing in on the 'bad guys,' if you will."
Secure Communities, dubbed "S-Comm" by its opponents, has been widely criticized by immigrant rights groups for ensnaring people without criminal records into deportation proceedings. Massachusetts, New York, Illinois and the District of Columbia have all either attempted to opt-out of the program or passed laws instructing law enforcement to ignore ICE requests to hold individuals. In October, California passed the Trust Act, a law limiting the state's cooperation with Secure Communities.
Despite the criticism, Longoria praised Obama's handling of the plight of "Dreamers" -- undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors.
"I think that's one of the greatest tragedies," Longoria said. "Educating these kids who came here by no fault of their own -- educating them, preparing them, investing in them and then throwing them out of our country when they could be a great natural resource. We should be capitalizing on this group that we've already invested in."
In the face of congressional inaction on the Dream Act, Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security to exempt most undocumented immigrants brought here as children from deportation for a renewable two-year period, a move applauded by many immigrant rights activists.
Watch Eva Longoria's appearance on HuffPots Live above.
Also on HuffPost:
The U.S.-Mexico border is violent
It certainly is in some places, but those don't tend to be on the U.S. side. In fact, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/08/2-us-mexico-border-cities_n_2647897.html">El Paso, Texas and San Diego, California are the two safest cities in the country</a>, according to Congressional Quarterly. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/jan-brewer-border-enforcement_n_2677777.html">While Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has repeatedly said the border in her state is dangerous</a>, crime statistics reported by USA Today and The Huffington Post show that violent crime has dropped along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, as well as California, New Mexico and Texas.
The porous U.S.-Mexico border is vulnerable to terrorists
That’s not the assessment of the U.S. government. The Mexico section of the most recent <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/195768.pdf">State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism reads</a>: <blockquote>No known international terrorist organization had an operational presence in Mexico and no terrorist group targeted U.S. citizens in or from Mexican territory. There was no evidence of ties between Mexican criminal organizations and terrorist groups, nor that the criminal organizations had political or territorial control, aside from seeking to protect and expand the impunity with which they conduct their criminal activity.</blockquote> H/T: <a href="http://borderfactcheck.com/">Washington Office on Latin America</a>.
The border is insecure
Depends on how you define "secure." By practically all measurements, the border is at its most secure point in recent history. There's more than <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/may/10/barack-obama/obama-says-border-patrol-has-doubled-number-agents/">20,000 Border Patrol agents stationed along the border now</a> -- about double the number since 2004. <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/border-funding-needed-immigration-apprehensions/story?id=18465102">Apprehensions along the border, one of the most reliable measures of illegal entry</a>, are at their lowest level in 40 years. But <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/23/what-does-a-secure-border_n_2749419.html?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=World">politicians have yet to agree on how to define what "secure" will mean</a> for legal purposes.
Obama has been soft on enforcement
Not so. In fact, it's one of the biggest gripes immigration activists have with him. While Obama has exempted many people who came to the United States as children from deportation, he has also set records, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/advocates-push-obama-to-halt-aggressive-deportation-efforts.html?_r=0">deporting over 400,000 people last fiscal year and removing more migrants</a> in one term than George W. Bush did in two.
The U.S. hasn't committed enough resources to securing the border
Again, depends on who you ask. The $18 billion the federal government spent on border enforcement in the 2012 fiscal year was more than it spent on than on other law enforcement agencies combined, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/immigration-enforcement-cost_n_2425647.html">according to the Migration Policy Institute</a> -- about 15 times more than it did in the mid-1980s. Is that enough, especially in a context in which illegal immigration stands at net zero? If, not, what is?
Illegal immigration continues to skyrocket
Nope. For all the talk from outraged politicians, you'd think that immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border remains at historically high levels. In fact, <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/">illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped to net zero or less</a>, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.