Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama's immigration announcement

Reuters has a rather cynical analysis of President Obama's announcement on immigration today. Jeff Mason and Richard Cowan essentially parrot the Romney opinion that this is a "Power Grab." They talk about this immigration news as if Obama were pandering, as if he has never before moved for legislation to help children who came to this country illegally. They acknowledge the DREAM act that failed in 2010 and Obama's past efforts on immigration:
Obama has long supported measures to allow the children of illegal immigrants to study and work in the United States, but efforts to pass such measures in Congress have failed amid objections by Republicans.
Yet they talk about the move as if it were solely to draw additional votes (and funding) from the Latino community:
Obama's order was the second time in two months that he has reached out to a key Democratic voting constituency. Last month, he said for the first time that he supports legalizing gay marriages, a move that while largely symbolic, won him praise and campaign donations from the gay and lesbian community.
They speculate the President's motive, saying this policy "seemed to be aimed at Hispanics whose enthusiasm for voting in the Nov. 6 election could be crucial to Obama's re-election chances."

[More analysis and other somewhat surprising coverage after the jump.]
The policy is really not all that radical. As Alicia Cohn over at The Hill explains:
The deferral policy will apply to those who came to the United States before they were 16 and who are younger than 30 if they have lived here for five years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military. 

Given appropriate requirements, this policy would certainly be a move in the right direction. The ability to obtain work permits would allow young people to build experience and make it easier for them to contribute to society in a meaningful way (and pay taxes). This is a no-brainer. It will benefit everyone to have more people working to improve our overall society.

I was rather surprised to see that FoxNews had published this piece by Kristian Ramos in favor of the policy. While I enjoyed reading Ramos' scathing criticism of Romney and the inability of the Republican party to pass any meaningful legislation on this issue, I mostly enjoyed finding that his opinion mirrored mine. (Sorry, Ramos, I found your article after I already wrote the latter paragraph.) Ramos' view of the policy is incredibly practical:

In reality the deferment of deportation of our best and brightest undocumented immigrants is smart, fair policy. In no way does it give a pathway to legal citizenship, IT merely offers those who were brought to the United States as young children, who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, an opportunity to continue to contribute to our society as a whole. 
Basically, we should all be able to agree this policy is the best practice for the time being. In addition to the whole fair and just thing, we also don't have the money to hunt all people who are here illegally down and drag them out of the country. Why not behave like we live in a country that values diversity and inclusion?

FYI, Reuters, when FoxNews is publishing pieces that are more liberal than you are, you're doing it wrong.

Also worth of checking out: Jose Antonio Vargas' "Inside the World of the 'Illegal' Immigrant" over at Time. 

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