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By Javier Rodriguez , Antonio Rodriguez, Isabel Rodriguez 20 June 2012
Finally the executive order to stop the deportation of undocumented students has arrived. With an unmistakable strategy centered on publicly pressuring President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, the independent and unafraid dreamers applied civil disobedience at various democratic campaign headquarters nationally, demanding the executive decision to stop the deportation of undocumented students. It was the right political button and bingo the president responded. From now on it appears that an estimated 800,00 to 1.4 million youth can breath and feel the security of not having the ICE elephant in the room 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Approximately 16 months ago, when President Obama’s unofficial campaign began to court and secure the increasingly important Latino voting bloc, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was a guest speaker at an East Los Angeles College event and there, as we Mexicans love to say –sin pelos en la lengua- unequivocally, she laid it out for all to hear, “the administration cannot issue an executive order because the Republicans will use it to rile up the right wing troops in November 2012” La Opinion.
Today however, with only four months left for the presidential and congressional elections that will determine whether democrats will continue in the White House and also retake the majority in the House of Representatives , it’s obvious that time and new political conditions have given way to a change of policy. The president’s campaign strategy has been modified and it points to resolving some of the long time issues, like gay marriage, and it was the Latino community’s turn.
This wonderful sweet victory for the new generation of activists has a lesson for the old guard and leadership of the immigrant rights movement and this is embarrassingly screaming “Ya no se hagan pendejos-Stop making fools of yourselves.” And we say this not to insult anyone but rather to bring public attention to the fact that the leadership, the horizontals or verticals, are in denial, clueless and in a quagmire on how to reach the coveted comprehensive immigration reform that will empower the millions of undocumented immigrants and their families. Since early last year 2011, most had given up and all the efforts to unify and motivate the movement to produce real massive political pressure failed.
Prior to this year’s May Day national marches we set out to explain some historical facts and issues with the objective of clearing the way for the movement to reach unity. We said, “To be clear, success on May 1st unequivocally means, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands on the streets of downtown LA and in cities throughout the country. Then and only then will this social movement create a significant political groundswell of the people, to not only partake in the defeat of the ultra conservative Republican bloc in several fronts, including the November presidential elections, but it will also augment the public pressure on Congress and the White House, demanding real solutions to the mega problems faced by the overwhelming majority of Americans, including those of the large immigrant community.”
Setting aside the recent dreamer’s victory for the moment, it has now been 49 days since the celebrated but divided 2012 May Day marches in LA. Since then we observed two related but important developments on immigration. One of them was the aggressive policy change which increased the amount of ICE teams in the so called search for criminal immigrants nationally. It was billed as a move to feed the hungry conservative but independent voting bloc. But for Latinos it was an openly offensive repressive move, for it is a well known fact that the majority of those caught in the violent guns in hand, early morning ICE raids at homes, when children, women and elderly are present and asleep, are not criminals. As far as we can tell, this was the only response, adverse at that, by the Obama administration to whatever political pressure ensued from the May 1st mobilizations on the administration.
The second political development came forth approximately within a week after May 1st. But this came from the activist Latino quarter, the dreamers. It was the beginning of the campaign which would target and occupy the Democratic Party campaign offices nationally, with one objective, to wrest from the White House, the presidential decree that would protect 1.4 million students from the insidious and inhuman policies of deportation. The public announcement was made simultaneously through media events and protests in close to twenty cities in the US. The dreamer plan included civil disobedience as the key component and carried out in, we believe no more four cities, succeeded. On June 15, the administration announced a change of policy and the president at a White House press conference proclaimed “it is the right thing to do.”
The social movement, the community and the media were taken by surprise, and although the sensational victory is the product of the social movement as a whole, undoubtedly the victory belongs to the youth. All the community sectors, with the exception of the cynics and skeptics, recognize it. They persevered and they astutely identified the moment, the political juncture and they rolled with it.
In conclusion it was not that the dreamers moved millions of people to blockade the democrats or republicans, that skill still belongs to the experienced movers, you can say the elders and with more than four months left until November, it could be done for immigration reform as a whole as well as to also respond to the expected ominous Supreme Court decision on SB1070. However success depends on putting aside the political and organizational interests, the egos and personalities and what we call the bipolar political conduct.
Javier Rodriguez is a journalist and a media and political strategist. A long time activist, he was the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 MILLION historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, Bajolamiradejavier@yahoo.com. Isabel Rodriguez is a worker’s compensation attorney and a long time activist firstname.lastname@example.org. Antonio Rodriguez is a civil rights- anti police brutality attorney and also a long time activist, Antoniohr@rodriguezlaw.com. All three are siblings who played a prominent role in organizing the mass street immigration movement of 1984 and 2006.