When the Obama administration went before California’s 9th Circuit Court last year seeking to deport a middle-class couple from Nevada, one judge criticized the government’s case as “horrific.” Another labeled it the “most senseless result possible.” A third complained of “an extraordinarily bad use of government resources.”
The case against the carpenter and the clerk is one of many examples, immigrant rights advocates and labor activists say, of how the Obama administration has continued a policy of tough immigration enforcement against people who are no threat to the United States, even as the administration calls for a new immigration law designed to legalize many of them.
But immigrant rights activists and immigration attorneys point to climbing deportation levels and say the government is pursuing untold numbers of equally disturbing cases against students, nannies and janitors.
“People feel betrayed,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of Center for Community Change, a pro-immigrant group. “The president never said he was going end immigration enforcement, but he sent a clear signal that he would redirect it to a focus on people with criminal records who are a threat to the country. That hasn’t happened.”