On Friday, President Obama announced his new “policy change” from the White House Rose Garden, a change that resembles the infamous DREAM Act. It allows certain illegal immigrants—those who came to the United States before the age of 16, are younger than 30 with no major criminal offenses, and have graduated from an American high school or served in the military—to obtain work permits and avoid deportation.
Sounds great, right? All those young illegal immigrants, those “dreamers”… their dreams of amnesty are finally coming true. But in reality this unprecedented move by Barack Obama is nothing more than a nightmare for both legal citizens and undocumented aliens, and also for the future of this country.
In his speech on Friday, Barack Obama asked Americans to, “Put yourself in their [young illegal immigrants] shoes—imagine you’ve got everything right your entire life…studied hard…worked hard…only to suddenly face deportation.” So I did—I imagined I was not American born—someone who had been brought to this country by my parents (illegally) for the hope, opportunity, and freedom that exist in America. I imagined that I had worked hard, become academically successful, and then looked forward to a prosperous future—and then, faced deportation because of the illegal actions of my parents. I would be devastated, as I’m sure some of these young illegal immigrants constantly are when faced with that predicament.
I realize that this is a serious problem—it’s certainly not the fault of the child if the parents choose to bring them to America illegally, literally jeopardizing their future security. I concede—we need to do something about this problem because many of those young illegal immigrants are a great contribution to this country. But this latest move by the president is flawed, political, and tyrannical.
This “policy change” is not a real solution—the real solution is securing the border. For decades, American leaders have done little (Republicans, included) to actually tighten our borders and make them less permeable to those who would come here illegally. We have developed a huge population of young people who have been victimized by the illegal actions of their parents. But simply giving these kids work permits and immunity from deportation will not reduce the number of immigrants in this situation—it will simply encourage more parents to bring their children here illegally, because they know that even if they come here illegally, benefits await their children at a certain point.
Secure the border and the number of parents illegally immigrating here will decrease, as will the number of children subjected to the uncertainty of their future as illegal citizens. But until the root of the problem is addressed—our grossly permeable border—any action to “reward” illegal behavior will simply make the situation worse.
And President Obama’s logic is flawed if he thinks this move is the “right thing to do” for America. Right now, unemployment is well over 8%, our economy is tanking, and there are few jobs to be had. Millions of legal Americans are struggling—or have given up—trying to find work. Unemployment rates for teens and young adults are even more depressing. So does the President really think the “right thing to do” is to flood the job market with more potential employees when there are no jobs to be had? This will affect both natural-born Americans and immigrants looking for work; if there’s not a supply of jobs, workers won’t be in demand—regardless of where they were born or their citizenship status.
This policy change isn’t just lacking in common sense—it’s lacking a true altruistic motive. I have to wonder why—if President Obama cared so much about the futures of young illegals everywhere—he waited until five months before election time to make this announcement. Why didn’t he fight harder for a bipartisan solution for immigration reform a year ago? And will these illegals-turned-legal be able to vote? Regardless, it’s a purely political move, pandering to a demographic whose support he knows is crucial if he wants to stay in the White House another four years.
The most disturbing aspect of this whole policy change is the way the President went about it. No executive order, no communication with Congress—he’s just implementing this “policy change” through the Department of Homeland Security.
Has the President, who was supposedly a scholar of constitutional law, so quickly forgotten that America is a constitutional republic? Has he forgotten that the executive branch is not all-powerful, but that it is checked by the legislative as well as the judicial? This “policy change” has taken the influence of the executive branch to a higher, disturbing level of power. It’s nothing short of tyranny.
This approach to immigration reform is similar to the DREAM Act—legislation that couldn’t even pass through Congress when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House. Congress rejected it, and it didn’t make it to the White House for the President’s approval. In this country, in which we elect representatives to speak for us, that’s how it works—the people speak through their representatives, and obviously, they said no to amnesty and the DREAM Act. But apparently, Barack Obama’s voice is louder than the voice of the American people.
Just about a year ago in July of 2011, Obama spoke at the National Council of La Raza’s (the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.) annual conference. On immigration reform, he said: “The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting, I promise you, not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions.”
How soon they forget. I guess he gave in to that temptation.
Where does this all-powerful executive branch stop? Are we seriously going to allow backdoor amnesty to come about not by a vote of the people or their representatives, but by one man, his inflated ego, campaign strategy, and misunderstanding (or disregard) for how our system of government works?
I love this country, and I truly love the fact that for centuries, America has been a beacon of hope for people of all races, colors, and creeds looking for the opportunity to succeed and live free. Perhaps this kind of policy would be worth consideration if our border were secured and in the influx of illegal immigrants stifled. But this latest policy change simply rewards illegal actions that will gradually diminish the opportunity for prosperity and the prospects for success in this nation.
This is no DREAM come true for anyone—legal or not—who loves America and wants a future here. The President’s disregard of Congress and the American people is deplorable. I agree wholeheartedly with Glenn Beck’s blunt analysis of Barack Obama’s actions: “This is exactly what a dictator does.”