Opinion / Political

Borderline failure

By EPHANY WANG, junior

Today, the United States is facing difficulties with immigration policies akin to those it has handled before during the World Wars. But the country is not battling the backlash incited by radical yet legal immigrants in the 1920s anymore; rather, the Obama administration is now struggling with illegal immigration. There is an abundance of illegal immigrants, many from Mexico entering at a rate of 2,000 person per day, inundating the United States workforce, schools, and communities, threatening the basis of the nation’s capitalism. President Barack Obama, who recently recognized that his immigration policies held low prospects in Congress, issued an executive order that announced a program of “deferred action”, allowing a shockingly large 45% of current undocumented immigrants to legally remain and work in the United States. His decision will also shut down the Secure Communities program, which had facilitated a unified partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement to remove severe undocumented criminals from the United States. President Obama has stated that, “the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.” However, in all its ironic glory, the Obama Administration’s current executive order is impeding action from being taken. It is embracing inaction against nearly 11 million illegal immigrants by putting in place counter-productive policies.

In order to fully examine the shortcomings of the recent executive order, a solid background of why President Obama claims Congress has “failed” is necessary. Yes, there is a constant clashing between the Democrats and the Republicans. Yes, Democrats tend to favor looser immigration reform whereas Republicans favor stricter ones. And yes, nothing has been passed. But keeping in mind that Congressional elections were just this past November, more Democrats than expected have supported President Obama’s Democratic immigration policy for the sake of preserving an image of Democratic unity. In Congress, this midterm Congressional election was widely known as a crucial mid-term “report card” of the president’s performance. Now that the Republicans have taken over Congress with 234 republicans over 201 democrats, the president’s image has been tainted. And in following this unfortunate sequence of events, President Obama has raced to salvage his image by ungratefully blaming both the then-Democratic majority of Congress for failing to push through his policies and as usual, chastising the new Republican Congress for their conservative views.

Entering the immigration reform conflict on this platform, President Obama’s new executive order contains considerable hypocrisy. As mentioned earlier, the Secure Communities Program that encouraged federal, state, and local law enforcement of illegal immigrants has been dissolved. Strangely, however, the president has tightened border security. While popular television programs such as Border Wars attest to the necessity of higher border security, doesn’t it seem highly ineffective to take preemptive measures to prevent illegal immigrants, but then put in place policies to allow undocumented immigrants, who have only remained in the United States for a minimum of five years to stay? With an annual average of only 600,000 apprehensions, the number pales severely to the 700,000 that manage to enter and remain in the country. Surely, the president is capable of achieving more than a mere 50% success rate, and again, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to point out that this hypocrisy may be an Obama Administration tactic to appease both the ignorant conservative and liberals of the United States. Unfortunately, the end result will prove ineffective.

As a last point, America’s capitalistic society is taking a huge blow from the glut of undocumented workers in the the nation. Just a decade ago under the Bush administration, the national employment rate floundered as jobs became scarce. However, today,out of 11.2 million illegal immigrants, 8 million of them are in the workforce. The other 3 million remain in poverty or in jail. As for the children of undocumented immigrants (nearly 5.5 million of whom have undocumented parents), we will see this issue continue to grow, as the United States has provided resources to educate these children but cannot legally give them the jobs they deserve as based on the merit-system. Stepping back, it is also necessary to keep in mind that every job taken by millions of illegal immigrants residing in the United States is another job lost to American citizens. Already, in many job sectors such as production, maintenance, and service, undocumented workers comprise an average of 5% more than U.S. citizens.

It is up to the Obama Administration to begin taking meaningful action to protect those who need to be protected, bring justice to the educated children of immigrants who were forced to come into this country illegally, and all the while protect the American economy. The president may have received a poor report card last November from the nation, but that should only serve to galvanize him into making a substantial difference instead of scapegoating Congress. Just as Wilson shed his penchant for isolationism as president of our nation, we can only wait and see if President Obama in the final years of his presidency decides to abandon the refuge of the middle line and do something for the greater good of his nation. Hopefully, his recent executive order was just a trial run, and he will overturn such a policy before his term ends.

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