Feathered Bastard

Barack Obama Sending 1,200 Troops to Border, New York Times Reports

The New York Times has just reported that President Barack Obama will soon announce that he's sending 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, in what looks like an obvious election year cave to the right.

The Times' Randal Archibold writes that Obama will announce the move today following a confab with House and Senate members.

"Homeland Security officials said that the troops would provide support to law enforcement officers already working along the border by helping observe and monitor traffic between official crossing points, and would help analyze trafficking patterns in hopes of intercepting illegal drug shipments," the Times piece states.

You can expect that the architect of this pandering to extremists is none other than former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano, who had National Guard troops deployed to the Arizona-Mexico border in 2006, as a sop to right-wing critics such as J.D. Hayworth and others.

Now, with the right still raging over the death of southern Arizona rancher Rob Krentz -- a murder state Senator Russell Pearce and other nativist politicians effectively exploited to pass SB 1070 -- Napolitano hops in again with the same tired tactic.

Where is immigration reform in all this? The sort of reform needed before any solution to America's immigration problem can be impacted? Dead in the water.

Hispanics and others in the pro-immigration movement should note the knife in the back of that particular political corpse. You don't need the FBI to know that the fingerprints on the handle belong to Obama himself.

The pro-immigrant National Day Laborer Organizing Network quickly responded with this statement:

"We are outraged. Instead of addressing a domestic human rights crisis, the president appears to be caving into extremists who are further shattering and already broken immigration system. Any legitimate concerns about border security cannot be resolved until undocumented people are given full equality in our society."

They should be outraged, but not surprised. Despite his 2008 election rhetoric and his empty promises thereafter, Obama has been no friend to immigrants, Hispanics or those seeking justice for them. 

Instead, the president remains what he always was: a mealy-mouthed politician with a penchant for appeasement. 

In the process of his Quisling-like stances, he loses support among the very people who helped elect him, people who will not support him in 2012 if he persists in his repeated betrayals of the principles he espoused during his campaign.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons