Words vs. action

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is in full swing. This week, he strongly condemned Alabama ‘s law in front of Spanish-language media, saying that it is “not just anti-immigrant, but I believe it doesn’t match our essential values as a country.”

It is good for the nation’s president to speak vigorously about the principles that identify us as a country and condemn those measures that are not consistent with them. The president has the loudest megaphone in the country, and we are glad he is using it. However, we would like to see him address attorneys, agents and other federal government employees, telling them clearly and definitively that separating children from their parents and sending them to foster homes is immoral. That deporting people who have been in this country for decades because they were arrested while driving without a license is not only useless, but also incompatible with the executive branch’s express orders. That abusing women in detention facilities for the undocumented is unacceptable. And that expelling war veterans for committing a misdemeanor after their return from service is an insult to that service.

These are all happening under the government of Barack Obama, the president with the highest number of deportations in U.S. history-more than 1 million. Despite repeated announcements of memorandums and policy changes, not much has changed. He told us they are reviewing detention policies and investigating Arpaio’s civil rights violations in Arizona , and that they do not want to deport people with no criminal records. But we were told the same four years ago, in an electoral context, and there have been no concrete results.

Criticizing the Alabama law is an important step, although a symbolic one. We expect an actual change in Obama’s deportation and detention policy, so we can say he kept his electoral promises and will fulfill them in the future.