published Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Positive step on immigration

President Barack Obama's announcement that his administration will halt deportations and start granting work permits to certain younger illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as young children is a sensible response to a festering national issue. Predictably, no everyone agrees with the decision that could affect as many as 800,000 individuals.

Predictably, the loudest protests about the executive order that establishes the policy came from the far right and from Republican stalwarts. Almost uniformly, those opposed to the decision say it is an unacceptable use of administrative authority, that it circumvents the will and wishes of Congress, that it rewards what remains an illegal act and that it is a blatant political act to win favor with a voting bloc vital to the president's re-election. A closer examination of the new policy suggests that it is hardly as draconian as those opposed to it would have the public believe.

The new rules do not provide blanket amnesty to any group of illegal immigrants as some have charged. It, in fact, strictly limits those covered to individuals whose lives, actions and achievements identify them as highly likely to serve the short- and long-term interests of the nation. That's certainly a fair and useful measuring-stick.

Those covered by the Obama announcement are illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States before they were 16 and who are younger than 30, who have resided in the country for at least five continuous years, who have no criminal history, who have graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or who have served in the U.S. military. In other words, those with criminal records, those who have failed to pursue an education and those who are viewed as a threat to public safety or national security need not apply.

Those opposed to the president's decision rail about the manner in which it was made. They say Obama circumvented the will of the people and Congress by taking administrative action, implying that it is a rare use of presidential authority. Not so. Presidents of both parties have taken similar steps in the past. Moreover, Congress has had the chance to act on the issue. It has had the chance to approve a similar plan -- the aptly entitled DREAM Act, but has never mustered the will to do so. And if Congress fails to act on legislation of compelling national interest, a sitting president who has the legal right to address the issue should do so. Obama did just that.

The most shrill of the charges leveled against Obama in the wake of the order about illegal immigrants are political. The timing and content of the announcement, opponents say, are designed to win votes in November, particularly among Hispanics whose votes were important in the 2008 election but whose support for Obama has been flagging recently because of immigration issues. There's probably a bit of truth in those charges, but that does not minimize the importance, the sensibility and the humaneness of Obama's decision.

Indeed, the announced policy was not entirely divisive. Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, did not roundly condemn it and refrained from saying whether he would or would not repeal it if elected. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, mentioned as a possible Romney running mate and a leading GOP voice on immigration policy, did not criticize the Obama announcement, merely said that it was not a long-term answer to a major problem.

The new policy is a stop-gap in a way. While it ends the possibility of deportation for many law-abiding youngsters and would allow them to work legally in the country, it does neither permanently. Moreover, it does not provide a path to citizenship. Those covered by the ruling still will lead lives of uncertainty.

The way to end such uncertainty is for Congress to approve the DREAM Act. Perhaps Obama's announcement will increase pressure on filibustering Republicans in Congress to do so. Given current political realities, that's extremely unlikely to happen before the November elections. That's unfortunate.

Many young men and women -- illegal immigrants by law, but upright individuals by other measures -- should be allowed to stay in the United States. President Obama's announcement provides a welcome, albeit temporary answer to their dilemma. A more permanent one is desirable.

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Easy123 said...

Very good article.

June 19, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.

It's not perfect, but it's better than Mitt Romney's self-deportion idea.

Now that's a pie in the sky idea.

However, I see you misused the word "draconian" above. Perhaps you meant drastic?

June 19, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.

This presidential fiat shamnesty is illegal. The power to do this is outside of the powers granted to him by the constitution. Congress should act immediately, but we all know they won't. We need to replace all of these traitors with leaders who will follow and defend the constitution.

June 19, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
Easy123 said...

This is well within the president's power. This isn't the first time this has happened. Do some research.

June 19, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.

Precedence does not change the law. The legislative branch makes laws and the executive branch is bound to enforce them. This is a circumvention of laws on the books not enforcemet of them.

June 19, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.

A person who follows a bad law into injustice is the real traitor.

Congress should have acted decades ago. They didn't. Now they whine over somebody fixing their mess entirely within the bounds of the law?

Right. Your appeals to virtue are the real sham. Otherwise you'd admit that Congress gave the president executive authority over immigration, which is their job and covered in the Constitution, and the president is just exercising it.

I almost wish that Republicans were dumb enough to try to impeach him, then their false claims would be revealed. That is why they won't, of course.

June 19, 2012 at 3:43 p.m.

I am sure you have seen the video with Obama himself explaining to a hispanic group he was pandering to how he didn't have the power to do what he just did. Are you now claiming that in the intervening period between his speech to that hispanic group and now, the congress has granted Obama the right to make immigration law? Please post a link to that legislation so we can all see it.

June 19, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.

Who made law? This is policy, as allowed by the law that Congress passed. It's not a permanent solution, as Obama was talking about, or a path to citizenship, just what the law allows. Granting work visas.

Nice job taking Obama's actual comments out of context though. Did you get it from Bill O'reilly or somebody else?

June 19, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.

Ah I see. So policy that circumvents established law is legal as long as no one says it is permanent. That makes sense.

Let's cut to the chase and look at motivation. What could possibly motivate Obama to throw a bone to an illegal voting bloc that he and holder are doing their best to preserve in Florida right now? I am sure his motivations are entirely noble and not at all related to the trouble he is currently having in the polls. I wonder why he waited until the end of his term to enact this policy?

I took Obama's comments out of context huh? Explain exactly how I did that for me.

June 19, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
rogerdodger said...

Wow to have a name like Happy, you sure are pissy!!

June 19, 2012 at 5:58 p.m.

rogerdodger: The quality of your arguments continues to tell.

FPSE: Yep, sometimes a temporary solution prevents injustice while being explicitly temporary. There's a reason why judicial stays exist.

Don't know why you are so upset about motivation...isn't everything every politician does a bid to be elected? You think Republicans aren't explicitly trying to disenfranchise people under color of preserving the ballot box? Of course they are.

Don't play holier than thou, when I can see you're not at all genuine.

And if you need to be told how you took Obama's actual comments out of context, why don't you watch the video again?

June 19, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.
chatt_man said...

I'm confused, someone please help me understand where all the documentation is going to come from that tells us they were brought to the United States before they were 16 and who are younger than 30, who have resided in the country for at least five continuous years, who have no criminal history, who have graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or who have served in the U.S. military. I can see where some of it could come from, but some numbers have already ranged from 800,000 to 1.2 or 1.4 million. I'm not sure we know who these people are.

I am, however, sure that once we identify them, we will issue them all picture ID's.

June 20, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.

Happy, the injustice was commited by the parents bringing the children into this country illegally. Justice is enforcing the laws of the country. These children only have their parents to blame. You wouldn't let everyone who snuck into the theater in front of you in the popcorn/soda line and these illegals shouldn't be allowed to cut to the front of the line of the law abiding adults going through the legal citizenship process. It is a shame the children will have to pay part of the price for their parent's crime, but that is almost always the case when your parents are criminals.

June 20, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.
Easy123 said...

FPSE,

"It is a shame the children will have to pay part of the price for their parent's crime, but that is almost always the case when your parents are criminals."

Please tell me when that is the case. If my parents killed someone, I don't go to jail. I don't know of any case of a child being forced to pay for their parents crime.

June 20, 2012 at 10:09 a.m.

Yeah easy that is exactly what I am saying.

Seriously though, the children pay the price by not having their parents around. Being children, most of them love their parents in spite of their crimes. They also pay throughout life as the child of that guy that robbed/killed/sold drugs/shoplifted etc.. Good try though.

June 20, 2012 at 10:12 a.m.
Easy123 said...

That isn't a direct "payment" for the crime. Nice try though.

I would assume that most of these children would rather stay in America, get a good education, get a good job, then they can do whatever they want. Whether that means bringing their parents back to America or going back to their native country.

Most of these kids are either in high school or college anyway. The age when kids actually move away from their parents. So I'm sure this wouldn't be that big of a step for them.

You are trying to spin and re-spin this but it isn't working. Children shouldn't and don't pay for their parents "crimes" whether you want to believe it or not. Being the son or daughter of an illegal immigrant shouldn't be equated with being the child of a murderer/drug dealer. These children deserve a chance. And we should and have given it to them.

June 20, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
chatt_man said...

Easy, as you pay your tuition, and you pay taxes in life later, be sure and appreciate the fact that we/you educated those children that carried their "paid less than you and I" education back to Mexico.

Also, please work hard enough to make good enough grades that you can afford to redistribute (give some of what you worked hard for to them) those grades between you and those students that didn't care to work as hard as you, they would appreciate that.

June 20, 2012 at 12:31 p.m.
Easy123 said...

All of that is baseless assumption. Congratulations.

June 20, 2012 at 12:36 p.m.
chatt_man said...

That's OK, Easy... I didn't expect much of a comment on that from you.

It's not completely assumption, the grade scenario is exactly the same thing asked of the money we work hard for.

June 20, 2012 at 2:17 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Why would I elaborate about your made up scenarios?

Maybe one of these kids grows up to be a surgeon and cures cancer. Or a firefighter and saves your life. Or a great athlete that minority children can look up to. Or a famous actor. Or the next President of the United States.

You can focus on the negative and attempt to pull the "bad" out of this situation but you will find nothing. These people deserve this chance. And I would be glad to give some of what I have so that they could have a better opportunity. I'd feel like a real citizen of this country. If they don't work as hard as me, so be it. But I know some will and those are the ones that will make a difference and change this country for the better.

Keep living in your selfish world. I'm sure it's a lonely place. I will keep believing in my fellow men and women. Ethnicity or color doesn't matter. I was given ample opportunities. I think others should be given the same. And if it costs me some tax dollars, you'll never see me complain.

June 20, 2012 at 3:27 p.m.

The next president of the United States? Enough said right there. You are in over your head Easy.

June 20, 2012 at 5:36 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Not even close.

June 20, 2012 at 5:45 p.m.
chatt_man said...

I actually agree with some of that. Ethnicity is a non-issue, and they may grow up to be contributing citizens, and that's great too, many from other countries have done the same.

I have no complaint with the persons, I have a complaint with the way Obama has done it, with his "damn the laws" and arrogant a**hole way.

You can go ahead and say I'm selfish, I and the people around me know differently. I'm sure you think all conservatives are mean spirited, and heartless. The point is things are supposed to be done lawfully and by the rules for a society to prosper and succeed.

I have heard the saying "If you're young and not a liberal, you don't have a heart... and if you older and not a conservative, you don't have a brain." I guess it takes us all to make the world go round. Peace.

June 20, 2012 at 5:46 p.m.

I don't necessarily agree that the entry into the country was an injustice. The INS even has waivers explicitly because sometimes it isn't. This predates Obama's new policy, but was rather more limited.

But even if it were, the question is doing what's just now. Not worrying about a violation of the laws by somebody else. That's because you're in error, enforcing laws in a dogmatic and draconian fashion does not lead to more justice. Justice does not necessarily come from a relentless application of the letter of the law, sometimes that makes things worse.

Yes, this does semingly contradict with the notion that laws should be equal. But...it turns out that conduct sometimes actually makes things more unjust. Why? Because it turns out that not all laws are perfect.

That is why we have discretion as an intrinsic part of the system. Does this sometimes also lead to injustice? Sure. What else do you expect?

PS, you analogy is inapplicable, this is not a path to citizenship, and even without that, these people aren't pushing into the line, if they are ahead of somebody that's about as offensive as the person behind me in a grocery store line switching to another check-out and getting out of the store before me.

And just like when a law is changed or a court ruling is made, there can be people on either side of it.

Sorry, but I don't see a reason to resent it.

I do, however, see the foolishness of sending somebody out of the country because their parent messed up, despite their willingness to effectively contribute themselves.

June 20, 2012 at 9:05 p.m.
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