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Deportations Are Moral, Humanitarian Crisis – And Increasingly A Political Problem

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Recently we’ve begun seeing a concerted effort by the Obama Administration to distance itself from the very aggressive deportation and enforcement strategy that has been underway for the past six years. Though, no one is denying that 2,000,000 immigrants have been deported, so it’s no surprise that the tough enforcement policy is being felt on the ground.  

Last year, Latino Decisions released numbers digging into the importance of the immigration issuefor Latino voters:

Latino Decisions released new polling data today highlighting why immigration reform has become the number one political issue for Latino voters, and the answer is close personal connections between Latino voters and Latino undocumented immigrants.  The poll finds that 58% of Latino registered voters now cite immigration reform as the top priority for the Congress and President, up from 35% in November 2012.  One reason is that 63% of Latino voters say they personally know someone who is an undocumented immigrant, either a member of their family or a close personal friend.  Further, 39% of Latino voters say they personally know someone, or a family who has faced deportation or detention for immigration reasons, and increase of 14 points over 2011, when 25% of Latino voters said they personally knew someone who had faced deportation or detention.  It is clear that the immigration reform issue is one that Latinos agree with in principle, but that Latino voters are also directly connected to, and intertwined with the undocumented immigrant population in the United States.

Immigration is a top priority for Latino voters. Most of them know someone undocumented and 4 in 10 know someone who has been deported. Think about that: there are approximately 50,000,000 Latino voters — so 20,000,000 of them “personally know someone, or a family who has faced deportation or detention for immigration reasons.” 

Anyway you look at the numbers: there is a deportation crisis and it’s impacting communities. This is a humanitarian crisis first and foremost. But, this is also a major political problem for the President. Yes, Republicans are blocking reform. But, the administration has allowed ICE and Border Patrol to create a climate of fear in immigrant communities.

As we get closer to the election, the political component becomes more critical for those who want and need a high turnout of Latino voters. It’s not looking good. This week, FOX News Latino reported:

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said recent polling shows a drop-off in enthusiasm among Latino voters. “Lack of progress on immigration is hurting our chances of getting these voters out to vote,” Lake said

Lack of progress on reform. Far too many deportations. That’s not going to inspire Latino turnout.