Those who condemn illegal immigrants for stealing American citizens’ jobs and not paying taxes do so as a blanket statement, but ignore the unfairness of placing blame on immigrant children who were brought here with no say. This week, President Obama announced a new policy to stop the deportation of immigrants who came here before age 16, have lived here for five years, and are students, graduates, or military veterans. When announcing this policy, Obama rightly described his reasoning as, “They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”
In high school I knew a girl who came here from Guatemala at age two. When her friends began applying to colleges she wasn’t able to despite her top grades because of her illegal status—she didn’t have a social security number, and had little money because her family could only get low-paying jobs that don’t do background checks. Should she be held back because her mother wanted a good life for their family? Doesn’t America pride those who want to go to college, get a good job, and eventually better than their parents?
This was a great starting immigration policy for Obama. While Romney likely wouldn’t get the Latino vote because in the past he was anti-immigration and now he’s being vague about how he’d improve the immigration system (something about green cards), he’s right that Obama is facing a tough election year and needs the Latino vote. If Obama reneged on his 2008 promise to overhaul immigration, especially after his administration has deported record number of immigrants, he would lose the support of millions of Latinos. It’s not only the right thing to do, but also great for our economy to hand out work permits to smart, hard-working young-adults. It encourages students to get higher education, which leads to job candidates with better credentials to stop America from falling behind other countries in skilled-worker fields.
Although Obama used his executive-authority to pass this law, sidestepping the standard bill process in Congress, he compromised with the objections that would’ve arisen by not granting citizenship, but rather two-year permits to the immigrants. This allows him to stop deporting innocent children for two years while he works to completely overhaul immigration (if he’s elected). Win (for Obama) – win (for Republicans) – win (for illegal immigrant children)!