Obama: Immigration enforcement equals terror

By WND Staff

Sen. Barack Obama, speaking to the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza yesterday, pumped up the crowd by describing how Hispanic communities are “terrorized” by government immigration officers.

“When communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids,” Obama said, “when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel, when all that is happening, the system just isn’t working, and we need to change it.”

The crowd, quietly listening before Obama began his tirade, reacted immediately to the sentiment that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are terrorizing communities. Applause, shouts and cheering swelled through the audience as Obama characterized atrocities allegedly committed by government officials.

The segment of the speech that contains the inflammatory comments can be seen below:

 

“Our duty is to ensure laws are enforced,” San Diego ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack told WND. “The people who violate those laws should understand they are subject to arrest and removal.”

Mack explained that the ICE’s enforcement operations are not random acts of shock meant to intimidate or terrorize, but carefully planned and targeted arrests, backed by months of investigation and surveillance, similar to the steps police take to apprehend any form of criminal.

“Our agents are experienced and well-trained,” she said. “They know ICE policies on dealing with families and always take humanitarian issues into account in any arrest situation.”

 

The ICE is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security, formed in March 2003 by combining the law enforcement arms of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and the former U.S. Customs Service.

Though ICE performs numerous national security and customs operations, the agency is often the subject of headlines when it executes its duty to enforce immigration and deportation laws.

In November of last year, following an incident where a mother and nursing baby actually were separated by ICE action, the agency released new written guidelines for handling single parents, pregnant women, nursing mothers and other special child or family care situations. The New York Times reported the new guidelines allow nursing mothers to be released unless they pose a national security risk.

“We are faced with these sorts of situations frequently, where a large number of individuals come illegally or overstay and have children in the United States,” an ICE spokesperson told the Times. “Unfortunately, the parents are putting their children in these difficult situations.”

KNSD-TV, San Diego, estimated that more than 2,000 people gathered in a ballroom at the San Diego Convention Center to hear Obama speak at a brunch titled “The Power to Change History” as part of the National Council of La Raza’s 40th annual conference.

The Natonal Council of La Raza, whose name (La Raza) means “the race,” defines itself as the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.

The theme of Obama’s speech was summarized in his frequently repeated statement, “The system isn’t working,” and his concluding statement, in which he said we need to “make the system work for everyone.”

Obama slammed his presumed GOP rival McCain for changing stances on immigration reform legislation and promised that he wouldn’t “walk away from something as important as comprehensive immigration reform just because it becomes politically unpopular.”

Obama also demanded health care for every American, subsidized by the government if necessary, and announced the addition of a new strategy to his health care plan: tax credits to small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees.

On the touchy issue of immigration, Obama referenced an estimated number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. when he said, “Yes they broke the law, and we should not excuse that, we should require them to pay a fine, we should require them to learn English. They should go to the back of the line for citizenship … but we should not have 12 million people in the shadows.”

Obama promised a “pathway to citizenship” for current illegal aliens living in the U.S. and said, “Nation of immigrants and a nation of laws – we can do both.”

As part of his concluding remarks, Obama stressed the importance of Hispanic voters in deciding the next president. “Make no mistake about it,” he said, “the Latino community holds this election in its hands.”

 


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