- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 17 September 2014
- Written by JASMINE RAMOS | STAFF WRITER
President Barack Obama made the decision to abstain from any immigration executive action until after the midterm elections On September 7. This caused a backlash in the Latino Community by contradicting promises Obama made earlier this summer.
During a speech on June 30, Obama said, "Today, I am beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can, on my own, without Congress."
Obama reiterated the same idea during a naturalization ceremony in July at the White House. He stated, "I'm going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system smarter and more efficient."
Obama said this after ending a week during which he slammed congressional republicans for inaction on immigration reform and promised to take executive actions. "We're going to have to fix our immigration system, which is broken, and pass common sense immigration reform. We shouldn't be making it harder for the best and the brightest to come here. We should be making it easier."
Obama explained why this changed during an interview on Meet the Press in September. "What I am saying is that I am going to act because it's the right thing for the country. But it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we have done on unaccompanied children, and why it's necessary. The truth of the matter is, the politics did shift mid-summer because of that problem."
Maria Cardona, a political commentator for CNN, further explained Obama's actions: "By June, public attention to the influx of unaccompanied minors was just starting to hit a crescendo. And Republicans were masterly in injecting cynicism as well as downright lies into the discussion of the cause of the influx and the security at the border."
This angered the Hispanic community, because the president based a lot of his political campaign on fixing the immigration situation in America. Molly Ball from The Atlantic said during Inside Politics, "The politics did become more heated given the border situation. But democrats did see some very scary polling out of some of the red states, where the idea of executive action in particular was not looking for some of these democrats that are hanging on for life as it is."
She continued, "The immigration activists' community feels more than just disappointment, they feel betrayed. We have been strung along and jerked around for so long every single time. We are the ones that have to wait every single time because something else is more important.'"
Lecturer of political science and sociology Dr. Jennifer McGovern said, "Hispanic and Latinos are more likely to think that the government needs to act on immigration reform. This is because many of them have friends and family members who will be directly influenced by any changes. They would want to support legislation that helped make life better for family and friends-but also for themselves.
She continued, "Even when Hispanic and Latino Americans are in this country legally, they are often subject to stereotypes and discriminatory behavior ... Therefore, many people who identify as Hispanic and Latino support reforms."
Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, associate professor of political science said, "Latinos are the reason Obama won two elections (2008, 2012) and they rightly feel he failed to deliver. In fact, he has been a disaster on the issue of immigration. He has deported more people than Bush or Clinton yet he has secured no new agreement with Congress. In short, Latinos interested in immigration can't identify much that Obama has accomplished while record deportations occurred on his watch."
House of Representatives leader John Boehner said, "There is never a right time for the president to declare amnesty by executive action, but the decision to simply delay this deeply controversial and possibly unconstitutional, unilateral action until after the election, instead of abandoning the idea all together, smacks of raw politics."
During Inside Politics, host John King asked if this action from the president actually does work in favor for the democrats, to which Robert Costa from The Washington Post said, "I think it makes it better. I have spoken to about a dozen democratic senate campaigns. They are very pleased with the president's decision. [For example], in West Virginia, where democrats had a tough shot, they feel as if now they have a chance in winning the election. And in AK, LA and KY, you have democrats that have known they have an outside shot but the president not putting them under the gun and on the spot, they think they can go to other issues and have some strength."
Dr. McGovern said, "If we look at polling data, Hispanics are increasingly aligning themselves with the Democratic party, partially because of immigration. However, there are many other issues in the Hispanic community that would influence their votes. Therefore, while inaction on immigration might hurt Obama's approval ratings among Hispanics, I think that Hispanics would continue to align with the Democrats in the future, unless the Republican Party changed their stance on a number of issues, including immigration."
Natorye Miller, a sophomore political science major, said, "I find it to be a bit unfair that Obama did promise to do something about immigration and he is backing away from doing anything soon. This is a major issue that has been concerning the country for years now and not much has been really done. The only thing that we can do now is wait and see if he actually does something about it with Congress after the midterm elections."
What could be a possible solution to the immigration situation in America? USA Today mentioned on Sept. 14, "The nation desperately needs a comprehensive immigration law that would marry a path to legal status for undocumented workers with enhanced enforcement and reforms to the legal immigration system. Such a law passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support but has been bottled up in the House ever since by Republican leaders who refuse to put it to a vote because they know it might pass."
According to The Hill, there are two immigration fixes that Obama can implement immediately. First, expand use of "Parole in Place," giving more opportunity to foreign-born spouses, parents, and certain minor stepchildren of U.S Citizens to apply for green card status in the United States.
Second, follow the 6th Circuit on Temporary Protected Status or TPS. This would mean allowing individuals with TPS to apply for permanent resident status through a U.S. Citizen relative, having this law apply nationwide and not only bidding to states such as MT, OH, TN, and KY.
This is not the first time that something like this has happened. Politicians of both parties have been pledging comprehensive reform for years without delivering.
During an episode of the Colbert Report, host Stephen ran a reel of Republicans who have promised imminent reform. President George Bush, former congressman Eric Cantor House Speaker John Boehner , Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham. Dr. Mitchell said, "Past presidents have all dealt with immigration in one form or another. President Reagan in the 1980s was the last to promote and get Congress to pass a large scale amnesty."