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Obama correcting US immigration policy wrongs, says OAS sec general

Published:Friday | November 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, speaks with The Gleaner at the newspaper's North Street offices in Kingston yesterday. - Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, yesterday suggested that in announcing an executive order to block the deportation of approximately five million persons who reside illegally in the United States, American President Barack Obama was moving to correct bad immigration policies adopted by his country in the past.

Speaking with The Gleaner ahead of last night's announcement by Obama, Insulza charged that Latin Americans were, in the past, targets of unfair immigration policies adopted by the US, even as he endorsed a planned move to shield the illegal immigrants.

"I don't know what [Obama] is going to say, but I am looking forward to it; it is commendable," Insulza said yesterday during a visit to the newspaper's North Street offices in Kingston.

In his long-promised executive action on immigration reform, Obama last night stressed that while up to five million undocumented immigrants would be able to come out of the shadows, criminals would be deported.

In a video posted to Facebook before his speech last night, Obama said: "I'm going to be laying out the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president, to make the system work better, even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem."

Insulza suggested that the Obama administration was moving to correct some policy decisions that had targeted illegal residents primarily from Latin America.

He charged that in going ahead with the executive order, Obama was moving to eliminate the notion that he was committed to illegal residents from Canada over Latin America.

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Insulza said the law that was breached in the past is now finally being corrected and applied, to ensure that around half of the illegal immigrants deported have a chance in the future.

He said that in the past, the US government had adopted the policy of deep reforms in matters of immigration, which weeded out Latin Americans and protected Canadians who were living in the US illegally.

"I am not saying that some are not from the Caribbean, but most are from Latin America," said Isulza, who suggested immigration laws were breached in protecting one nationality group while targeting another.

He argued that the bulk of illegal residents are from Canada.

"The second nationality of illegality in the US is Canada, he said. "Some Canadians have been deported back to Canada, but I am not aware of that … ."

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com