U.S. Immigration System is Broken, Says Latino Community Leader

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Jerry Gonzales

Jerry Gonzales

The U.S. immigration system is broken and not in line with the nation’s values, said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), at an event Wednesday night. GALEO is a nonprofit organization seeking to increase Latino civic engagement.

“We need to have a workable system that moves us forward and upholds our values,” he said.

Addressing a small crowd of mostly Latino students at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Gonzalez said a top priority should be keeping families together.

Under the current immigration system “some families have to wait 20 years to be reunited,” he said. “Would you wait 20 years when the only thing separating you from your family is a border?”

Gonzalez said the current system promotes illegal immigration.

“We need to have a system that encourages legal immigration rather than illegal,” he said.

But a recent change in immigration policy may help keep some families with U.S.-born children together. The Department of Homeland Security will refocus its deportation efforts on convicted criminals and foreigners who pose a national security risk, The New York Times reports. The new policy also pushes closing low-priority cases. The move may reduce the number of families split apart when illegal immigrants with U.S.-citizen children are deported, in some cases forcing the children into foster care.

As JJIE reported Monday, at least 5,100 children whose parents are detained or deported are currently in foster care around the United States, according to research by the Applied Research Center (ARC). Previously unreleased federal data obtained by the ARC showed that, between January and June of 2011, the United States carried out more than 46,000 deportations of the parents of U.S.-citizen children. Almost one in four people deported in the last year was the mother or father of an American citizen.

The Obama administration will also retrain immigration enforcement officers and prosecutors in an effort to speed the deportation process and clear a backlogged and overburdened court docket, The Times said.

According to Gonzalez, President Obama has lost the confidence of many in the Latino community because of the high number of deportations during his term in office. According to The Times, Obama has deported nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants in each of his three years as president.

“Obama,” Gonzalez said, “is known among Latinos as the ‘deportation president.’”

Despite a hard-line deportation policy, the Obama administration is fighting back against recent state immigration laws such as those in Arizona, Georgia and Alabama that mandate proof of citizenship or immigration status during many government transactions.

In fact, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with Alabama’s law. A federal appeals court blocked a provision of the legislation last month that mandated public schools determine citizenship of students. The court upheld other parts of the law.

“Alabama’s law is horrendous,” Gonzalez said in his speech Wednesday evening. “It has caused a humanitarian crisis that is unfolding right before our eyes.”

Some state lawmakers in Alabama are beginning to have second thoughts about the legislation, The Times says.

“The longer the bill has been out, the more unintended consequences we have found,” said Slade Blackwell, a Republican Alabama state senator. “All of us realize we need to change it.”

Gonzalez, for his part is calling, for voters to kick out lawmakers responsible for the bills.

“We get the government we deserve whether we engage or not,” he said. “And I believe we will get a better government if we encourage engagement at every level.”

3 thoughts on “U.S. Immigration System is Broken, Says Latino Community Leader

  1. Why do Latino leaders think they have the clout to lecture/guide/ influence us on our immigration laws? If it wasn’t for the Obama presidency, there’s no way they’d open their mouths as if we care what they have to say on how to deal with their criminal and lawbreaking nationals.

    One thing they should get straight is that the American people want them out of our country. There is no “comprehensive” agreement in the future on any circumstance. Illegal aliens from Mexico and Latin America have worn out their welcome and as soon as Obama is defeated, we will clean house at DHS, and after the Supreme Court rule on Arizona’s SB1070, reality will finally set in with the illegal alien community: Go Home!!

    And we gonna do it as humanely as possible to denied you the opportunity to use our own African-Americans’ civil rights to falsely bolster your illegal presence here. States will be empowered to deal with the illegal element of our society by enforcement through attrition, just like Alabama is doing. So long as we aren’t hurting our own African-American citizens, you can’t claim racism, discrimination, hatred and all the other charges that were real to the blacks but certainly not to the illegals……you never had any rights to be here and never will, either!

    2012 can’t come sooner!!

    Mitt Romney for 2012!!

  2. Enforcement through Attrition? E-Verify to support US workers!
    My main contention is to evaporate the fog around the lies, which are spread by Liberals, Democrats and even some Republicans. Both main parties prefer to keep things as they have always been, but the social networks, C-Span cable, Fax, E-Mail and the internet have altered the conception of the communication around the world. Over the years the only way to contact Senators and Congress was through a letter or a phone call. The computer has given us almost instant ‘real-time’ access to the elusive leaders in Washington. So instead of receiving an answer to your requests weeks after a law has been passed, you now have the reliability of having some influence over your US, State or local representatives. The Balance Budget Amendment never passed, so neither party has a commitment to stop the outlandish spending sprees. The larger group of politicians in Washington draft laws to benefit themselves, not the people, which is being investigated. You mustn’t think that nothing can be done—we voted them into office, we can vote them—OUT.

    Only the TEA PARTY has a serious concern to reduce the federal government size, trash the tax code, close loopholes for corporate, business and the complicity for campaign donor friends inside the Democrats, GOP, and selling citizens’ continuously to the highest bidder to ‘K’ street lobbyists. Our only hope is the TEA PARTY, the ordinary American who can rid us of the corruption in the center of government. Just in the last few days we have heard of ‘Insider Trading’ that is allowed for politicians, but outsiders—THE AMERICAN PEOPLE—will go to prison. Only the TEA PARTY can save America now from the decay that is deeply ingrained in Washington.

    Lamar Smith’s, a Texas lawmaker was inspired to produce this piece of legislation, goes to the heart of the matter of immigration and its rapidly rising cost. Those businesses of every type have encouraged poverty from every country–to settle here. Unlike most developed countries illegal immigration is a felony, not a civil infraction as in the good old USA. They have caused this incredulous infection that has contaminated our country with a large chunk of discretionary spending, to support these people. That has affected each of the 50 states financial shortfalls for decades. The major majority realize now that we cannot keep accepting people who are desperate, and placing a strain of financial weight on public schools for their children, the hospitals and an overpopulated penal system.

    No finger is pointed at any person’s race, color or spiritual dedication, but anybody who has arrived here through any means, with intent to grab as much free welfare assistance as possible. A MANDATORY E-VERIFY SYSTEM will deliver relief from illegal aliens in the labor market. Revised E-Verify is already expelling foreigners who are stealing jobs from the unfortunate 22 million workers, even though it has the Liberal press who denies its effectiveness. Unbelievable the main culprit that had an obligation to the American people through many changes of administration, have failed to close all loopholes in stringent enforcement. Not even the border fence has been completed–or any serious laws to hold businesses accountable for the damage caused by illegal alien labor. Going to Google you can help determine the terrible toll place on this nation, by out-of-control immigration. Our strength is in our votes and you can contact your political leader through NumbersUSA.

    You can read all about corruption at Judicial Watch website, you can either contact ICE website, to report illegal aliens working. You can even join a local TEA PARTY online. You have to wonder who Obama and the Department of Justice as our Public Servants are obligated too. It certainly not to assist the majority of the citizens and legal residents, as the President and the judicial branch have been asserting their power on Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and now Indiana. All these states want to do is inhibit economic aliens from going there and ransacking the welfare and public entitlement programs.

    As of November 18, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) is now co-sponsoring House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith’s Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885.) adding to the astounding 12 more lawmakers in the last two weeks, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 65, who wanting this law to reach the floor of the house of Representatives.

    The Washington switchboard at 202-224-3121 is already inundated with infuriated callers, who are justifiably contacting not only the House ‘Ways and Means Committee led by Majority Speak John Boehner (R-OH) on this import legislation. Whoever answers the phone explain to them you are a voter and want your policymaker to sponsor this bill. You can also insisting that all of Congress, on both sides of the chamber co-sponsor this beneficial Bill. Every TEA PARTY member throughout America should join in communicating with every state and US Senator and Congressman.

    Once we get illegal immigration under control, then ‘THE People’ can enact a standardized ‘Guest Worker’ program’ for agriculture, but with good regulated pay, conditions that must be observed. Not the incorrigible way some farmers are treating their charges today.

    Attn: We must all be watchful of illegal aliens voting in the future election cycle.

  3. The only system that encourages legal immigration is to have a system that ‘discourages’ ILLEGAL immigration. Right now we have no such system. Immigrants cross our borders with impunity, and if they have a child here, they can’t be removed. Even now there is talk of a system that won’t process people for deportation ‘just’ because they violated the immigration laws. Is this the kind of pseudo-immigration control Americans want?