Every January I look forward to writing a column with my wishes for the new year, something that I — and hopefully my readers — usually enjoy. But I have a confession to make: This year I cannot do it.
To begin with, an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu came over me as soon as I decided to begin my list of wishes with still one more plea to President Obama not to launch a new deportation campaign against Central American immigrant families.
These are people that, almost miraculously, escaped the degradation, poverty and violence ravaging their countries. Such a campaign is supposed to begin in the coming weeks.
These families don’t deserve to be rounded up and deported. Instead, they should be treated as the refugees and asylum seekers they are. Deporting them means sending them back to be tortured, raped and killed.
According to a Guardian investigation, at least 83 immigrants who came through the border since January 2014 in a desperate attempt to save their lives, but were sent back by the U.S., were murdered shortly after arriving to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — the places they had escaped.
President Obama’s expected deportation campaign against Central American immigrant families will cost many lives.
So I am wishing for the President to realize that deporting these families is unconscionable and morally indefensible and put a stop to this unfortunate plan. It cannot be forgotten that the United States’ gigantic market for illegal drugs is greatly responsible for creating the hellish conditions Central American women and children are forced to flee to save their lives.
While deporting Central American families means sending many of them to their death, new gun control curbs Obama is expected to impose this week should save lives.
This, of course, is a good thing. Stating he gets “too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing,” and faced with Congress’ sickening inaction, the President will use his executive powers to expand background-check requirements for buyers.
With the horrific toll exacted by gun violence in the U.S., the President’s measures don’t come one day too soon. According to the Gun Violence Archive up to Dec. 3, 353 mass shootings took place in the U.S. last year, 62 of them at schools. The number of people killed in gun incidents was a mind-boggling 12,223. Another 24,722 people were injured.
Tragically the U.S., with 5% of the world’s population but with almost one-third of massacres by firearms in the last 50 years, has the dubious distinction of being No. 1 in the world in mass shootings, according to a recent study. Certainly nothing to be proud of.
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