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Weekly Immigration Wire: Piecemeal Reform is Dangerous

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Note: This is a weekly feature by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

We’re coming to the close of the year in which President Obama said that immigration reform would be a priority. But to date, the Obama administration has only extended harsh immigration enforcement provisions put in place by the Clinton or second Bush administrations. These punitive pieces of legislation include E-Verify, a 100% detainment policy, the Secure Communities initiative, and the infamous 287(g) agreement. Cumulatively, they do not reflect a workable philosophy on immigrants, society, or the U.S. economy. Instead, this enforcement agenda destabilizes communities with police persecution and terror.

As Christopher W. Ortiz writes for AlterNet, “Comprehensive immigration reform is large-scale systemic reform encompassing all aspects of social, political and legal life here in the United States.” Ortiz, a police sargeant and criminal justice lecturer, presents an enforcement-heavy view of immigration reform, yet he does not agree with the current system of patchwork, or “band-aid” legislation. It is “a system of haphazard enforcement and piecemeal policies” that are “usurped” in some areas of the country and fully “ignored” in others. Ortiz calls for “a complete overhaul of the immigration system, from entry to citizenship.”

But on all fronts, the White House is rapidly backing away from anything resembling a systematic overhaul. On the same day that the E-Verify mandate went into effect, as Daphne Eviatar reports for The Washington Independent, Dora B. Schriro, the woman appointed to overhaul detention system, left the Obama administration to run New York’s jails. Shiro’s sudden departure is another stall for meaningful reform of the nation’s growing network of detention systems.