All News & Blogs
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--In helping young illegal immigrants stay in the country, President Obama did the right thing for the wrong reason and in a strange context.
Obama decreed that illegal immigrants who came here as children could stay without fear of deportation, if the following conditions are met: They've been in the country for at least five years. They're in school or are high-school graduates, or have served in the military. They are under 30 and have committed no crimes. More than
This was the beating heart of the Dream Act, stopped in 2010 by Senate Republicans. The major difference is that Obama is not creating an amnesty. He's letting these young people stay, study, and work in the United States without harassment for periods of two years, which can be renewed.
The beneficiaries are quite blameless. Their parents brought them to America as children. Having grown up here, these kids are for all practical purposes American. When it comes time for a real amnesty, these are the sort of young people we would put first in line. And if America had a normal immigration program, many in this group would have been welcomed through the front door.
Meanwhile, Obama's executive action covers only those who have obtained or are getting a basic education and have been law-abiding. Thus it excludes illegal immigrants who could pose a burden on our society (even if they arrived at age 2).
Obama clearly chose the timing for political reasons. The obvious objective is to woo Latino voters, who will play key roles in several swing states this November.
Actually, polls show most Hispanics not overly supportive of open-border policies that lead to depressed wages. But they are understandably aggravated at seeing the occasional young person pulled out of the neighborhood and sent to a country that he or she would consider foreign.