I have tons of friends who volunteered in South and Central America. The war on drugs (pushed by Clinton and Clinton, Obama, Bush and now Trump) which include catching drug dealers and criminals in the US (majority of whom became criminals during their time in America) and deporting them to these countries, and monetary support for violent and aggressive police and military action on drugs, have led to a situation where every single child is at immense risk of gang recruitment and death. At various times in their political life, US politicians from President Clinton to Trump have all supported these policies, and consequently called these families fleeing these deadly violence in large part of America’s creation “illegal aliens” coming to the US to drain welfare and commit crime on innocent American citizens.
The violence in Central America in particular reached crescendo in recent years due to the record deportation Obama did, leading to more children and women attempting the treacherous journey. Until Democrats stop enforcement of US imperial drug policy in Central and South America, their professed empathy for illegal immigrants is mute. I will say that I don’t even trust their professed empathy. When asked by Christian Amanpour her views on unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the US, then Candidate Hillary Clinton argued that “a message” must be sent to these children and their parents that if they cross the border, they’ll be sent back. When pressed by Amanpour, that isn’t it safer for the kids to be given asylum than being sent back, Clinton argued that even though that may be the case, they must be sent back and that her views are consistent with the Obama administration policy.
I am usually loath to do partisan politics on really serious issues and I’m not going to do it here. What the Trump administration is doing is horrendous. I will never in my lifetime defend that policy. What I’ll however not do is paint Democrats as somewhat good on the issue. Painting immigrants as aliens out to mooch off America’s generous welfare state isn’t a Republican or Trump philosophy. Diane Feinstein did it. Clinton did it. Hillary did it. Obama did it. Now Trump is doing it. They all argued the same argument. What is different with Trump is his inability to use fine words or turn of phrases to say the same thing. But essentially leaders from either party have the same philosophy.
Now, as to the manifestation of this illegal alien moochers deterrent philosophy, we have a slight difference. During the Obama administration, he did what Republicans decried as “catch and release” which meant instead of immediate separation and prosecution of these asylum seekers and their children, he basically deported them back to the dangers they fled from leading to the surge in deportation (higher than any US president in history). He didn’t necessarily separate the families at the border. But even Obama era officials said he “generally didn’t pursue policy of separation” but his tactics “led to some family separations.” Trump has simply ratcheted up existing immigration policy based on existing philosophy and framework and his own xenophobic tendencies.
It is the same thing with Obama’s extra legal global drone assassination campaign. Obama on every Tuesday sat down with close aids to approve global assassinations outside of the civilian court and legal system. He along with close aids became judge, jury, and executioner. He killed more people than Bush in his drone assassination campaign. Remember the Chelsea Manning leaks showed us that Obama’s drone assassinations killed 90%+ civilian non-combatant targets. When Trump came in, he said “why do I need to approve anything anymore, let the generals decide.” So his generals are going crazy but the philosophy hasn’t changed. Just with less constraints. So under Trump, using the same regime and philosophy under Obama with fewer constraints, hundreds and thousands more drone assassinations are taking place. He killed an American kid on his first month in office. Obama had already killed her brother earlier on with the same drones. When I talk about philosophy of Bush, Clinton, Obama and Trump being the same, I don’t mean to its nitty gritty detail manifestation but the overall moral compass with which they govern the global order.
It is easy to find solace in group loyalty and pay homage to Obama because I lean liberal or I’m black or Clinton because I lean Feminist. But I have always shirked group loyalty. It clouds judgement and clear thinking. When Obama was in office, there was barely anymore anti war protests in the US. The anti war movement is mostly a leftist movement. But because Obama was fau left, we all went to sleep. The same thing happened with immigration. Obama blew up Libya leading to it being a slave state now. There was barely any blip in the anti war radar. Obama was deporter in chief. Actually Trump last year (his first year) deported less people than Obama did in his last year and less than half Obama did at the peak of his highest deportation year. But today we have more opposition to Trump’s immigration policy (which I wholeheartedly support) than we had during the Obama years. This is partly because Trump is not a smooth talking Harvard trained lawyer and is generally a bad speaker, but it’s also because of partisanship.
Some of my friends like to chastise me. “Come on Umar. This is dangerous and irresponsible moral equivalence. Didn’t you hear about the distraught Father who took his life after his child was taken from him by the Trump administration? Didn’t you hear about the DACA recipient deported by Trump who was killed by a gang in Mexico?” Very good points. But my question is this. Did we follow up on the hundreds of thousands of the Obama deported to see what the gangs did to them? What happened to those who sold every possession they had to make the dangerous journey to the US only to be deported by Obama? Is it possible some of them took their own lives as well?
My friend likes to say that “Trump puts a horrible face on the horrible policies the US government and Democrats like to do all the time.” So it becomes easy to oppose. I support opposing them. But what I will not support is putting up people like Obama or Clinton and Clinton or Diane Feinstein as exemplary opposition to them. Look into racist policing in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles etc ran by Democrats. You may not have seen the horrible stuff Obama was doing but I bet you it was happening. And I will not be bamboozled into making Obama some humanitarian when he’s not.