Friday, November 21, 2014

Immigration Reform, Executive Action, & Psychology of a President

There is much controversy over President Obama’s Executive Order expanding the existing work permit program for legal immigrants to illegal immigrants that are related to American citizens. It’s important to start out with what this program is actually doing, as those on one side frame this as amnesty of hardened criminals or of creating laws where none exists.

These work permits will only be issued to those that are here, are working, have families, extended families, and aren't committing violent crimes, are already paying taxes and are already part of America. We ultimately should give this group of people a pathway to citizenship, as they are here, are working, have blood relatives to America. That is not what President Obama is doing here. And, amnesty for all doesn't even make sense, but having a sensible, reasonable pathway that takes time, money, due diligence, perseverance to determine amnesty . . . yes, that makes sense.

This action will actually generate revenue for the government, will generate data for the government about illegal immigrants that are already here and will help the government actually be able to more clearly see the scope of the illegal immigrant worker population in the country. There will be many that won’t sign up because of fear of reprisal from the government and from law enforcement. However, it is a step that the President did not want to make.

I just don't agree that this is tantamount to being an unconstitutional act by the President. This is an ongoing, rolling crisis. Millions of undocumented, illegal immigrants working in this country is tantamount to a crisis and falls under the jurisdiction of the executive branch, especially with a vacuum of action and accountability by the legislative branch.

He has been very patient with Congress. He has given them every opportunity to act. He even paused during the rapid influx of children refugee crisis this summer, as to not inflame the situation with Republicans, and to re-gauge the situation after the Administration had a chance to curtail that influx both at home and abroad. After successfully achieving that objective, and after the election, as he communicated repeatedly to the American people and to Congress, he stated that he would act if Congress would not in order to begin to clarify and rectify this rolling crisis in our country.

Part of the impetus for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), and really the legal foundation for the Executive Action by the President, is the ongoing national security risk at the border. Part of CIR is to better fund border security, better manage border security assets and to add certainty on both sides of the border; the desired impact would be to decrease the pressure at the southern border. Until that certainty is in place, there is going to be a compelling force driving human beings from a certain terrible situation to a potential better situation.

We need to continue working to protect our borders. It is not a simple endeavor or it would have already been done. The border is a river over much of the southern border. And, the tunnels under that border make it much more difficult as well. The War on Drugs gives every incentive to keep the border porous, so we should highly consider rethinking that massively expensive disaster of a domestic and foreign policy combo. It's the War on Drugs that has destabilized many of the countries that children and families have been fleeing from in the first place.

It's a highly complex problem with both intricate domestic and foreign policy elements, but we have so many millions here right now with deep American roots. We can't possibly remove them, so we must create a way for them to make their way toward legal status. It only makes sense.

I do totally respect that this is a difficult pill for people to swallow who abhor executive authority and executive orders. However, that is why we elect a President. We also elect a Congress. We just did that, and the newly elected Congress in January can pass Immigration Reform if they so choose. The only reality though is that the legislation would need to be amenable to President Obama in order to be viable.

Basically, if the Republicans in the House want more of a say about the comprehensive package that the Senate already passed, NOW is the time that they could most affect it. Republicans could make the certainty after CIR for future illegals quite painful and severe, which would help curb future compelling reasons for the dream of a potential better situation.

About the Psychology of the President and the moment:

 I do think it is easy to assume President Obama’s ego is at work with this move on immigration.

If you recall, after the '06 Republican mid-term bloodbath, George W Bush decided to go against nearly every reputable voice and move ahead with the Surge in Iraq. That actually ended up being modestly successful, IMO. At least it allowed for our troops to leave Iraq not actively burning.

I was no George W Bush fan, but at the time I was actively attempting to generate understanding, compassion and patience for him as he was my Patient Zero. So, I believed that he really thought this was what he thought was best to do.

It certainly wasn't received by the Democrat-controlled Congress at all well. There were calls for all sorts of reactions from the fringes. I would say the reactions today about immigration are much more severe.

The difference is that the illegal immigration problem is happening on U.S. soil. This isn't a population that is out killing Americans, they are related to Americans. These aren't blanket amnesties, these are work permits to working people related to the American people.

It's not as if Obama has not allowed the legislative process many years to work. It is like there is a bi-partisan bill, and not just with a few token Senate Republican votes either, that has been sitting in the House waiting for passage. It's a real bi-partisan legislative accomplishment about a pressing American issue that has needed resolving since George W Bush was in office.

There is a small, small window for action. Probably, this lame duck Congress has less than 30 actual days for the House to vote on CIR or to go to conference with the Senate to negotiate some additional concessions that House Republicans may want in the CIR. So, why wouldn't the President do his job, make the tough call, and do the work of the American people?

No comments:

Post a Comment