Welcome   |   Login   |   Sign Up   |

IMMIGRATION/ Obama’s amnesty

LORENZO ALBACETE comments on Obama’s recent executive order for an amnesty on deporting certain illegal immigrant children who meet certain requirements, and the reactions it has produced.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

While the economy and jobs continue to be the big issues in the American election campaign, President Obama's announcement that his Administration will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements has dominated the attention of political observers and the media these last few days.

This announcement was obviously appreciated by the leaders of the Hispanic community, so far very critical of Congress and the White House for their inability to act on this subject. Potential beneficiaries of this decision, equally obviously, expressed their satisfaction with demonstrations throughout the country. Conversely, Republicans have expressed firm opposition, saying that this move violates the decision-making authority of Congress.

President Barack Obama presented his initiative, an executive order, in this way last Friday: "This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure". He continued by pointing out that children of illegal immigrants “study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag,” adding that “it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans”. Indeed, that same subject was represented on the cover of Time magazine last week. The policy change, said Obama, is “the right thing to do”.

Cohen describes the new policy as such: "Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation...It also will allow those meeting the requirements to apply for work . Participants must be in the United States now and be able to prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years." In fact, according to a 2009 study, 4 million illegal immigrant children are native-born citizens.

As Cohen also reminds readers, this move is similar to the DREAM Act proposed by Democrats that has failed to win enough Republican support to gain congressional approval. In fact, “Obama has been criticized by Hispanic-American leaders for an overall increase in deportations of illegal aliens in recent years”. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants, the largest number ever. According to CNN, Friday's policy change is expected to potentially affect 800,000 people.