As we near the 2 million deportation mark under President Obama, we face a moral crisis, one affecting not only the immigrant community, but the country as a whole. The Republicans who control the House of Representatives have killed the prospect for sensible immigration reform this Congress. Given this fact, the House Democratic leadership's latest immigration strategy: launching an empty push for a discharge petition on broad immigration reform while refusing to launch a real push on the President to stop deportations is a big disappointment.
This is an American crisis and we all must work together to right this wrong. But too many politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties seem content to play political games with our lives instead of focusing on real solutions, ignoring not just the staggering human costs but also the relentless demographic and electoral shifts that will have consequences for decades to come.
The immigrant community has had enough. Just this week, we're fighting to stop another senseless deportation. Javier Gallego, of Colorado, may be separated from his family because of traffic violations despite having lived in the U.S. for 15 years, since he was just nine years old.
The need to stop deportations like these is urgent, the opportunity to do it is clear and political maneuvers like the House Democrats' discharge petition are just getting in the way.
Last year, there was a window of opportunity for real movement on immigration reform but Speaker John Boehner refused to move legislation forward.
Without dozens of Republicans on board, a discharge petition isn't a viable political strategy to break the logjam in Congress. House Democrats should instead focus 100% of their energy on pressuring the White House to halt deportations and provide administrative relief for our families. They cannot simply seek political cover by gathering meaningless petition signatures while standing on the sidelines and refusing to take action to ease the suffering in our communities.
President Obama is on the defensive on his deportation record, recently claiming he's the "champion-in-chief" on immigration reform, and calling for a review of his administration's deportation policy, a thinly-veiled response to the charges we've leveled against him for being the "deporter-in-chief." But we've reached a point of no return.
We cannot continue to push legislative strategies with the slimmest of possibilities of success while our families are torn apart at a rate never before experienced. Every single day, 1,100 people are taken away from their jobs, communities, and families to meet cruel and arbitrary quotas established by the Obama White House. The reckless enforcement machine presided over by President Obama exists not just because of Republican extremism and obstructionism, but also because of Democratic posturing and complicity.
President Obama has the legal authority to act to stop the deportation machine and he cannot simply pay lip service to immigration reform while deporting our families. The immigrant youth movement will continue to hold every politician accountable for dragging immigration reform to a complete stand-still and for the moral crisis of 1,100 deportations a day, with millions of families divided and countless more living in fear.