Syrian refugees get Obama’s sympathy, what about the refugees of the war on drugs and NAFTA?

Immigrant children at a private prison in Dilley, Texas

Obama claims to care about Syrian refugees, but the refugees from the US led "war on drugs" and free trade agreements receive no such sympathy.

When it comes to immigration, Barack Obama is a hawk. As of 2014 his presidency had overseen the deportation of a staggering 2 million immigrants. By the end of 2014 he had surpassed George W. Bush’s deportation numbers with two full years of presidency left to go. These deportations are taking place at a time when immigration to the US from countries such as Mexico is actually in decline.

Obama has also been a vocal supporter of the draconian program Secure Communities (now known as the Priority Enforcement Program) which facilitates the imprisonment of immigrants. Once arrested, immigrants are imprisoned in appalling conditions for months. While imprisoned immigrants are often leased to corporations as laborers where they are paid wages as low as 17 cents/hour. This practice harkens back to America’s dark and heinous history of convict leasing that plagued african americans living in the post Civil War South.

Now given this information it struck me as more than a little hypocritical when Obama threatened to veto a House of Representatives vote that would halt the resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees in the US. "Slamming the doors in their faces would be a betrayal of our values," Obama said on November 16th. “[Syrian] refugees are the victims of terrorism." So “slamming the doors in their faces” is ok for refugees fleeing the war on drugs and NAFTA, but it’s not ok for those fleeing Syria?

Obama’s humanitarian impulses are most clearly displayed in the town of Dilley, Texas, where 2,000 immigrant women and children, yes children, are imprisoned at a private prison owned by the Corrections Corporation of America. The children in the prison are often sick, drink water possibly contaminated by fracking wastewater, and are afforded little privacy. If Obama truly cares about refugees he will shut down the Dilley facility and end the criminalization of immigrant lives across the country.

Posted By

Nov 20 2015 20:29


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