Well folks, it appears the 44th POTUS has not taken the expected lessons from the November 4th GOP victory. On the contrary, with no more elections to win and no more congressional seats to worry about (not including Mary Landrieu) Obama feels free to do what he damn well pleases. He’s dealing with continued opposition to the ACA and he’s taking a swing at net neutrality and the Keystone pipeline. But the most imminent battle is over immigration reform and this has the right apoplectic.
Obama is famous for favoring politics over ideals, no doubt one of the biggest let downs for his supporters. To focus on Obama’s motives (fairness, narcissism, power grab) is to focus on the wrong thing. This is a rare time when there is bipartisan recognition that we have a problem so the focus should be on the fix.
It seems completely reasonable to me when Obama cites congressional malfeasance on immigration. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill that House leader Boehner refused to put to a vote. Is government supposed to come to a standstill because one chamber refuses to do its job? (In fairness Harry Reid has sat on his share of bills too.) Obama has given numerous “warnings” that if Congress could not get its act together, he would take whatever executive action he could. Again the fact that it is expedient for him to act now is beside the point. We’re focusing on the wrong thing.
The solution must encompass:
1. Border security: Unless we want to be Cold War East Berlin, we need to recognize there are limits to what we can do here. We’re not going to build a wall with snipers ready to shoot interlopers. We should take reasonable steps here but with such a long border, breaches are inevitable. Some money allocated to border security is a good idea. Unlike conservatives, I don’t think this is top priority.
2. Conditions that encourage migration: This is a tough nut to crack as the ball is really in the court of Mexico and points south. To the extent that we can implement policies (perhaps trade policies) that improve the lives of folks in their native lands, we should.
3. Exploitation: We should vigorously prosecute business owners who hire undocumented workers.
4. Compassion: How can we as a civilized country tell people who have lived here for years and raised families here that they must summarily leave? This segment of the undocumented have become part of their communities and are loved not just by family but by friends. We must find a way to compassionately deal with this.
5. Fairness: Compassion aside, law breakers cannot be prioritized over those following the rules. Any path to citizenship must place lawful immigrants at the “front of the line”.
I honestly don’t think legislation or an executive order that encompasses these five principles is rocket science. I also don’t think that the world will come to an end if it takes an EO to move this forward. If Congress wants to act responsibly, they should pass legislation to supplant Obama’s executive action as soon as possible and not waste any more time whining about it.
What do you think? The bar is open.