Obama and the elephant in the room

GEORGE E. CURRY | 4/11/2016, 10:37 a.m.
It’s been whispered for years so let’s deal with the elephant in the room: Many African Americans have privately complained ...
George Curry

(George Curry Media) – It’s been whispered for years so let’s deal with the elephant in the room: Many African Americans have privately complained that President Obama has catered to the needs of immigrants more than those of Blacks.

The fact that neither group fits in a separate and unique block notwithstanding, an examination of government figures shows that in at least two areas – deportations and presidential pardons – that’s not true.

Let’s first address immigration.

“Since coming to office in 2009, Obama’s government has deported more than 2.5 million people – up 23% from the George W. Bush years,” Fusion observed. “More shockingly, Obama is now on pace to deport more people than the sum of all 19 presidents who governed the United States from 1892-2000, according to government data.

“… And he’s not done yet. With the clock ticking down his final months in office, Obama appears to be running up the score in an effort to protect his title as deporter-in-chief from future presidents. To pad the numbers, Homeland Security is now going after the lowest-hanging fruit: women and children who are seeking asylum from violence in Central America.

“‘This is the only time I remember enforcement raids on families of women and children who are fleeing some of the most violent places on the planet,’ says Royce Bernstein Murray, director of policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center. ‘The families came to the U.S. looking for a hand, but they got the boot.’”

Under the headline, “Barack Obama, deporter-in-chief,” the Economist magazine declared, “America is expelling illegal immigrants at nine times the rate of 20 years ago (see article); nearly 2m so far under Barack Obama, easily outpacing any previous president. Border patrol agents no longer just patrol the border; they scour the country for illegals to eject. The deportation machine costs more than all other areas of federal criminal law-enforcement combined.”

Also troubling are accusations of racial profiling.

In February, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement release data about the use of racial profiling in the controversial program known as the Priority Enforcement Program, formerly Secure Communities.

Despite the soaring deportations under Obama, Republicans accuse Obama of being soft on immigration. Meanwhile, progressives give Obama little credit for advances he has made trying to reform the criminal justice system.

“Today, the President announced 61 new grants of commutation to individuals serving years in prison under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws. More than one-third of them were serving life sentences. To date, the President has now commuted the sentences of 248 individuals – more than the previous six Presidents combined. And, in total, he has commuted 92 life sentences,” the White House said in a statement March 30.

While Obama has commuted the sentences of 248 people, Ford commuted 22, Jimmy Carter 29, Ronald Reagan 13, George H.W. Bush 3, Bill Clinton 61 and George W. Bush 43.