President Donald Trump has been routinely criticized for his rhetoric on the issue of immigration, both as a candidate and the Commander in Chief.
Overlooked, however, is how his predecessor handled immigration.
President Barack Obama was not the ally to immigrants he pretended to be. His rhetoric and talking points seemed sympathetic and reformative, but he did little to create lasting change while he was in office.
It’s one of the failures I find myself most disappointed about when reflecting back on the previous administration.
Mr. Obama’s deportation numbers speak for themselves. He deported 500,000 more immigrants than George W. Bush in his first six years as president.
I spoke to one of the core organizers of the Washington Dream Coalition, Paul Quinonez, who has been protected under DACA since 2013. Quinonez believes President Obama gave Dreamers a false sense of security by issuing an Executive Order that could later be overturned.
Quinonez is frustrated he failed to live up to campaign promises by forgoing any meaningful efforts to push through legislation when the Democrats had control of both Congress and the White House.
“They saw us as expendable, he tried to leverage high deportation numbers to justify to Republicans that they could be trusted to enforce the law and pass immigration reform.”
President Obama knew installing DACA through executive order left the door open for it to be later repealed, setting the stage for Dreamers lives to be thrown into peril.
Quinonez said the signing of DACA created a false sense of complacency. He, like myself, feels let down. He recognizes that he was used a pawn.
“Our lives and the lives of our community members that he wreaked havoc upon, shouldn’t have been used in that manner. So, I don’t think he was a true ally, even though he claims he was.”