On the Occasion of Obama's Visit to San Francisco

An open letter to friends, allies and adversaries

By Roberto Lovato
Published on LatinoLA: April 21, 2011

On the Occasion of Obama's Visit to San Francisco

Local media is abuzz with news of President Obama's visit to San Francisco. Unfortunately for immigration policy and for noble cause of immigrant rights, the media coverage reflects the editorial filters built up by the multi-million dollar media aparatus set up by Obama's immigrant rights allies in DC, who are still seen by the press as the official voice of immigrants in the US.

Consciously or not, these DC groups, their leaders - and their, until very recently, ominous silence about Obama's radical immigration policies and cheer leading of Obama and immigration and Latino - has so conditioned the ears of journalists and editors to the faux applause and the Jumbotroned sound of support, to the sickly "Si Se Puede" legalization of it all, that anyone talking about Obama's repressive and devastating policies sounds and looks like what a journalistic hack wrote about activist Prerna Lal, who is in deportation proceedings SF Weekly hack wrote: marginal and out of the mainstream

Dangerous stuff. I've been traveling alot around the country lately and am beyond sickened of stories like what's happening to Prerna, countless stories of immigrant children forced to watch in terror as their parents are treated like criminals and taken away forever by ICE, the agency Obama has the power to tell "stop it, stop it immediately."

Failure to bring the Obama Administration to some reasonable, concrete relief for DREAMers or around 287g/Secure Communities will bring the bar of immigrant and Latino respect to even more dangerous lows. Democratic and Republican pols and their allies will see that they can get away with continued repression without paying a political price. Such perception will, i fear, result in even more unprecedented terror and devastation of a community perceived to know no lower limits to its self disrespect when its says "Si Se Puede" in support of the Administration that is breaking records as the most violent and repressive in the history of the immigrant US.

Fortunately, we-not they-are the ones we have been waiting for. I know and have spoken to many of you who will not allow Obama and his supporters to glide thru Latino communities as if he has not been the Commander in Chief of the War on Immigrants. If things don't change soon, any and all Obama Latino events should be subject to disruption, protest, civil disobedience and any and all other non-violent actions that defend both immigrants and our self respect and dignity.

Even his closest allies have communicated the need to take action on urgent matters like deporting DREAMers or 287g/Secure Communities. If he doesn't heed them, then he is clearly committed to moving beyond being a frenemy of immigrants, one deserving of having his electoral campaign aspirations dropped and devastated in Latin@ communities with the same zeal with which he and his administration prosecute the War on Immigrants in Latin@ communities.

For the record and to repeat: the ideas shared here are about politically, nonviolently attacking Obama's campaign goals among Latin@s. We cannot again prove that you can humiliate, attack and terrorize Latin@s and still have Latin@s singing your praises. Without relief for immigrants, we should make support for Obama's re-election or for the election of violent Republicans synonymous with being what we used to call "vendidos" or "sellouts" in a previous political era. The moral reality is there to do so as is the urgent necessity.

Thankfully, I think the will and courage are there too.I am very proud of and love those of you who are and will teach Obama and his allies what living Hope and heart-driven Change look like. Please do continue enlisting me in your heroic effort as i find great edification and inspiration in you, your actions. Gracias.

For his own dignity and for ours, I hope President Obama does the right thing and stops the terror and devastation against immigrants.

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