Community Editorial: Is Now the Time to Halt Deportations?

Leaders gathered to halt deportation
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Judgment day is coming to the city councils of Santa Ana and Anaheim as a progressive wave of city politicians in Los Angeles and San Francisco introduce immigrant-friendly resolutions to “Stop the Deportations” effective immediately. Insiders are speculating and preparing strategies based on whether both city councils will follow the example of leaders north of Orange County.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Council Member Gilbert Cedillo and Council Member Curren De Mille Price Jr. led a resolution for the city of Los Angeles to suspend any further deportations of unauthorized individuals with no serious criminal history. The vote was approved unanimously by the council, and Council Members José Huizar, Mitch O’Farrell and Tom LeBonge voiced public support of the resolution with moving personal testimonials.

The ability of Gil Cedillo to stand beside Curren Price and Mitch O’Farrell may have marked a monumental moment in Los Angeles politics, as all people of multiple identifiers wrestle with the certainty that President Barack Obama cannot stand beside Congress in Washington, D.C., politics. Whether it be for immigration reform, poverty alleviation programs, same-sex marriage or any other issue downgrading the ability of certain individuals to realize their ambitions, the consensus is that Mr. Obama is all talk and no game. In his speech to the council and the public, Mr. Cedillo voiced his disillusion with Mr. Obama: “This is not the man that I campaigned for, and this is not the man that I helped to elect.”

The resolution of item 41 on Tuesday’s City Council agenda comes as the first step of local governments taking control of a leaderless federal government. Meanwhile, a coalition of approximately 39 members of Congress led by Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona also continue to find additional signatories to a letter addressed to President Obama to “Stop the Deportations.”

As all this is happening, members of the immigrant community grapple with their ability or inability to utilize grass-roots tactics and personal networks to spread the message far and wide. Professor Armando Vázquez-Ramos of California State University Long Beach, a spokesman for the community, paused while purchasing a celebratory juice at Homeboy Diner in City Hall and asked a group of immigration advocates: “Did anybody see a reporter from Univisión?” From a group of approximately 13 (myself included), not one person noticed anybody from the network. For the record, there also were no sightings of reporters from Fusion, the Los Angeles Times, the OC Weekly or The Orange County Register.

Given the severity of the underlying issue, I offer that this may not be the time or the place to get into the business of criticizing President Obama or the establishment media for their incompetence. Nor is it the appropriate moment to segue into sarcasm or veiled accusations of betrayal of the very communities that feed both the President and the media. This is especially true of Univisión as they structure themselves as a pretty dress for an initial public offering in 2014. Rather, it is a moment to give serious thought to the indirect ways by which our needs as a community can be acknowledged, given the enormous barriers.

Some in the community advocate for patience. Other for supplication. Others for symbolic fasting. Others for civil disobedience. Others for boycott. Others for hackathons. I hold a different opinion than any of the above. I do not discount the efforts listed above but instead I offer the following as a strategy:

There are 72 million registered Democrats and there are about 42 million registered as Other. Within this group is the group that I want to impress upon you: The group labeled as Decline to State.

President Barack Obama has three more years left in office. Then he is going to help Hillary Clinton raise enough money to sit in the presidential chair for the next eight years. In total, that is 11 more years under the whim of Democrats. Given their good fortune that the GOP has a consistent anti-non-Anglo platform, they know they are mostly safe but they also know that they need to appease the non-Anglos. They know that the best way to appease the Latino portion of the non-Anglos is through some form of immigration reform. Perhaps, insiders believe, the best starting point is by “Stopping the Deportations” through the passionate leadership of local leaders. Given that immigrants in OC may not be able to rely on the passion of their leadership, Voter Shift may be the next best option to make a point to the establishment.

If President Obama and the Democrats in power see that 72 million registered Democrats fill out a voter card that shifts their political preference from Democrat to Decline to State, I’ll bet a pound to a peso that immigration reform will be a reality. Will Univisión, the Los Angeles Times, The Orange County Register and the OC Weekly come to cover or will they just come to profit from our years of struggle?

Sergio C. Muñoz is a Mexican artist and broadcaster at Intelatin in Santa Ana. As the author of this essay, he asked the following friends to co-sign this sentiment. They are as follows: Professor Armando Vázquez-Ramos, Nativo-Vigil :Lopez (c), Frank Quevedo, Fernando De Neochea, Amin David at Los Amigos of Orange County and Cesar Vargas, J.D. at DREAM Action Coalition in Washington, District of Columbia.

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