|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
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.-México border.
Yet, the irony is that this Big-Brother Department – 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
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
América 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 América 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. México 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 México and throughout the Américas, the
walls keep going up, just as the Bush-created kangaroo courts known as
“Operation Streamline” continues – in which 70 migrants are generally
tried and convicted every day in Tucson’s federal court. All this
takes place in one hour.
Flor Crisóstomo – an Indigenous Zapotec woman from the state of
Oaxaca, México – 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 – in sanctuary and in open
defiance – 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.
Crisóstomo, who braved and crossed the perilous Sonora-Arizona desert
– living there for a month – 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,”
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
México. 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 Crisóstomo: Iglesia Metodista Unida Adalberto, 2716 W.
Division, Chicago IL. 60622 – Cel. 773-751-9584 – email@example.com
Mi blog personal ....www.floresiste.wordpress.com.
The Tamez family, through the Lipan Apache Women Defense organization
can be reached at: lipanapachecommunitydefense.blogspot.com
Roberto Rodríguez can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.com
© 2009 Column of the Américas