I realize I'm a day late and a dollar short in adding my two cents worth to the conversation about obama's decision to make an end run around congress via his executive order granting legal status to illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children. One benefit to taking one's time in commenting on a controversial issue such as this, however, is that it gives one time to get past the immediate emotional response and reflect upon things in a more deliberate manner. Accordingly, I'd like to offer my views on the issue from several different perspectives.
From a humanitarian perspective, I must agree with obama. Deporting young people who were brought to this country as children, who have lived in this country for a good portion of their lives, and who are basically Americans, would IMO run contrary to basic humanitarian principles. Many of these kids don't speak Spanish, struggle with adapting to the Mexican culture, and encounter a Mexican school system that is not equipped to handle non-Mexican students (Mexico is not encumbered by the American love affair with diversity).
Call me a soft-hearted fool, but I don't see the point in punishing children for the sins of their parents.
There are several different policy implications to consider. On the plus side for obama, this country can use all the educated, law-abiding workers it can get. Lord knows we've got plenty of natural born dropouts, petty criminals, and welfare leeches. Just take a close look at Detroit, Chicago, Los Angles, and other major urban areas (all, coincidentally, democrat strongholds - hey, stereotypes don't write themselves, you know).
And I can't imagine that anyone would oppose granting legal status for immigrants who serve in our armed forces.
On the negative side, the unemployment rate stubbornly remains high, meaning that these young people would be competing with American citizens for jobs.
And then there is the 'magnet' issue to consider. obama's policy might tempt Mexican parents to bring their kids here in the hopes that they (the kids) would one day become legal.
Left unanswered is what happens to the parents and younger siblings -- by definition, illegal immigrants -- of the young people covered by obama's policy.
I cannot think of one positive thing about the process. It was terribly flawed. If the republicans had any cojones at all there would be all sorts of legal challenges to this. It seems to be an obvious usurpation of the legislative branch's right and responsibility to write laws. It sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents, who now can just govern by executive fiat with total disregard for congress. To me this is a HUGE issue. If left unchallenged, it basically gives the president -- ANY president -- unfettered authority to do just about anything he (or she) might want.
As a thought exercise, ask any democrat or liberal that you might know how they would feel if a republican president issued an executive order to immediately deport without a hearing any illegal immigrant. Or an executive order stating that ordinary citizens could now purchase firearms without a background check. Or to abolish the EPA and ATF (hey, a guy can dream...).
And on the other side of the coin, a compelling argument can be made that if the president is free to pick and choose which laws he wants to enforce, I and my fellow citizens can likewise pick and choose which laws we want to obey.
Starting with that pesky income tax...
Finally, we come to the meat of the matter. This whole thing is about nothing but politics. obama has had 3 1/2 years to do something about the immigration laws. That he decides to take such an obvious step to shore up his sagging Hispanic support less than five months from the election is nothing but blatant pandering to a demographic he desperately needs to be re-elected.
I would hope that the very people he is sucking up to would see this for what it is and reject it. However, this is such an emotional issue for most Hispanics that I have my doubts. He's very adroitly painted Romney into a corner. It is without a doubt a shrewd, albeit despicable, political gambit.
There's no doubt that our immigration policies need reform. But ramming it down our throat by means of an executive order is not the way to do it.
So what's the solution?
Appoint me Emperor. I'll fix every damn thing that's wrong with this country in five years or less, then retire to a life of luxury.
12 hours ago