Back in 2010, Obama introduced to Congress an answer to the problem of young Hispanics that were brought to the United States illegally as young children by their parents. A piece of legislation he called the American Dream Act would allow these young people a chance to become an American citizen by going to college or joining the U.S. Military for a stint. It was a decent bill being that it solved a quandary about what to do about innocent young immigrants who have known no other home except America.
Then of course, the Party of “No” said no and nothing got past the doors of Congress and we were left with the same old, same old. Those same Republican lawmakers, who have blocked any bill the Obama administration has tried to come up with, also enjoyed the benefit of blaming Obama for not getting anything done.
President Obama is not to be outdone. Not only that, he’s determined to reach out to the Hispanic community, in spite of the GOP’s efforts to block him. Like some of the other executive orders he has used to overcome the wide river of Republican obstruction, our president has called another one by ordering Homeland Security to stop deportation of illegal immigrants under 30 if they have no prior criminal record. Instead they would be provided work permits on a temporary basis.
In announcing the change concerning enforcement of immigration policy at a media conference in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said:
“We’re a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.”
Obama was also heckled by a conservative reporter, Neil Munro of the Daily Caller. Mr. Munro interrupted the president to ask “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?”
The question clearly irritated the president as this is not the first time he’s been shown such disrespect during a speech. We can look back at a certain joint session in Congress by Rep. Joe Wilson yelling “You Lie” during the president’s health care speech.
Mr. Munro obviously doesn’t think about who he’s talking about here concerning “foreigners”. Some of these kids have been here since they were toddlers and unable to make decisions on their own. They’re American in every way; they speak English fluently, they’ve attended our schools and they’re entirely integrated into our society. They’re anything but “foreigners”.
Obama has put a real face on these immigrants. They deserve to be treated fairly by the American immigration system and they deserve a chance to become Americans, not only because of their immigration predicament but because they ARE Americans in every sense of the word, because this is their home.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the other hand, really doesn’t have a special immigration plan for these Hispanic kids who came here with their parents when they were children. His immigration plan is, or should be considered to be, the same hard right and “severely conservative” policy ideas he came up with during the Republican nomination debates.
Mitt Romney said this during one of the debates with his Republican rivals months ago, before he won the nomination:
“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,”
At this moment and time, executive order is the best President Obama can come up with, as long as Republicans control Congress enough to keep him from passing anything. But, I am very confident that if Obama manages to win reelection in November, the American Dream Act will be one of his top priorities. Still, if he is again stuck with a congress that continues to block him at every turn, the president will be back to issuing executive orders and trying to get the country back to work again over the objections of Republicans in Congress.
I do know this; Obama is a supporter of Hispanic issues and always has been. His opponent Mitt Romney has not shown any support for issues important to Hispanics. Like the political party he belongs to, the only interest he has shown to Hispanics is how much he’d like their vote.
Hispanics in large numbers support Democrats because the party platform serves their interests. If Republicans want a larger share of Hispanic votes, they might try ending their support for laws targeting Hispanics for racial profiling in some Republican-controlled states and showing some honest concern for Hispanic issues, such as high unemployment and the higher education of their young.
The Hispanic vote will grow more important and more urgent for Republicans to gain as the Hispanic population grows even larger. Fortunately for now, Obama was wise enough and concerned enough, to finally put his foot down and stop the unjust deportation of those who are at heart, just as American as you and I.