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Border Walls: Et tu, Obama?

Flor Cris??stomo, public face of the U.S. immigrant rights movement, believes Obama will treat all people as full human beings

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: April 20, 2009


Border Walls: Et tu, Obama?


President Obama is not to be confused with former president Bush‘«™ yet on the issue of immigration, failure to act today essentially means that we continue to live under BushObama policies. This holds true for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also.

On April 16, this crushing news came in from the Lipan Apache Women Defense organization: "A federal judge in Brownsville, TX issued an order today granting the federal government's request to condemn the ancestral land of the Tamez Family, who are Lipan Apaches‘«™ As of today, it is in the possession of the United States Department of Homeland Security."

The purpose of this land seizure is to allow the government to put up Bush's 2,000 miles of fences and walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet the irony is that this Big-Brother Department ‘«Ű created in the midst of fear under Bush, is now under the control of the Obama administration, with in effect, the same policies, the same objectives and the same results.

Again, Obama is not to be confused with a would-be strongman who one day may be dragged before the International War Crimes Tribunal for authorizing a war under false pretenses that has minimally resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings. Yet whether it is immigration or war, the consequences continue to be the same.

Obama's plan of getting out of Iraq in 2011 means that thousands more Iraqis will continue to be killed‘«™ all predicated on the idea that America has the God-given right to impose its will on any nation on this planet and that the lives of non-Americans have little or no
value. This is the definition of dehumanization. This soul sickness is what also drives the idea that America needs to wall itself.

In any society, a wall is the ultimate symbol of fear and failure. There was plenty of both in the previous administration, which is when the clamor for a wall all along the U.S. Mexico border reached its crescendo. It is under his administration that the walling of this border began in earnest. Militarization of the border also accelerated, as well as the deaths of thousands in the desert as a direct result of these policies. Under the Bush administration, massive immigration raids and mass deportations became the signature of this sick administration.

And while offering goodwill in Mexico and throughout the Americas, the walls keep going up, just as the Bush-created kangaroo courts known as "Operation Streamline" continues ‘«Ű in which 70 migrants are generally tried and convicted every day in Tucson's federal court. All this takes place in one hour.

Flor Cris??stomo ‘«Ű an Indigenous Zapotec woman from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico ‘«Ű is the public face of the immigrant rights movement in the United States. Living at the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood ‘«Ű in sanctuary and in open
defiance ‘«Ű she notes that President Obama is a welcome change from the dehumanizing policies of Bush, but that up until now, the only change has been the slowing down of the massive indiscriminate immigration raids. Targeted raids, however, continue.

Cris??stomo, who braved and crossed the perilous Sonora-Arizona desert ‘«Ű living there for a month ‘«Ű before coming to Chicago, believes that in the end, Obama will do what Bush never did, that is, treat all people as full human beings. "Somos seres humanos‘«™ merecemos respeto," she asserts.

While she understands that passing a comprehensive immigration bill is difficult and time-consuming, she believes that some of the most onerous aspects of Bush's policies can come to a halt immediately with simple executive orders. "Congress has not yet proposed a law‘«™ better that the president take the initiative," she adds.

But for a real solution, she believes that North Americans need to be educated as to "why Indigenous peoples are coming to this country. People in this country don't understand Indigenous peoples. Those of us with dark skin and Indigenous features are singled out and seen as criminals and as ignorant. If there was investigative journalism in this country, people would know why we have fled."

Without reforming NAFTA, a solution is not possible, she asserts. NAFTA has permitted a massive influx of U.S.-subsidized crops into Mexico. Unable to compete fairly, this has precipitated a massive uprooting. "This is why peoples and families are being separated. We don't come to this country to be criminalized‘«™ we don't come because we want to go to Disneyland or Las Vegas‘«™ it's because what this government is doing to our country."

The Bush response was to ignore these causes and instead chose to build walls. Et Tu Obama?

To reach Flor Cris??stomo: Iglesia Metodista Unida Adalberto, 2716 W. Division, Chicago IL. 60622 ‘«Ű Cel. 773-751-9584 ‘«Ű floresiste@gmail.com. Mi blog personal .... www.floresiste.wordpress.com Also please read the attached documents, relevant to the work of Cris??stomo.

The Tamez family, through the Lipan Apache Women Defense organization can be reached at: lipanapachecommunitydefense.blogspot.com

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