You may have heard by now that President Obama is expected to take executive action on immigration reform in the coming days. Threats of unilateral action are nothing new from the Obama White House and this particular set of actions is anticipated to grant legal documents to as many as five million illegal immigrants in the United States, the New York Times reports.
An Administration official noted three specific aims of the potential executive action in a comment to CNN. First, parents of children who are American citizens would be able to obtain documentation that allows them to remain in the US legally. Second, children who came to the US illegally would be protected and allowed to stay legally. Finally, the action would seek to make clear that deportation remains the verdict for convicted criminals.
What exactly does this mean? In 2012, Obama issued an order to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use “prosecutorial discretion” when determining whether or not to remove illegal alien children from US soil. This is known as deferred action for childhood arrivals. There are several criteria by which DHS makes this decision. Among other things, the individual must have come to the US before reaching the age of 16, must have been under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, and must be in school, have graduated, or been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces. Those granted deferred action are not removed from the US for two years, after which they must renew their request.
The action Obama has vowed to take will essentially be an extension of this policy. “I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago that if in fact Congress failed to act I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try and make the system work better. And that’s gonna happen, that’s gonna happen before the end of the year.” Obama said. By this he meant that either the House passes the immigration reform bill the Senate passed in 2012, or the White House would act alone.
Whether or not Obama actually possesses the Constitutional authority to grant amnesty is debatable. That said, there are some important issues to take into consideration. Illegal aliens are largely in the shadows. With five million potentially being granted legality, that is five million people being thrust into the light where they will either fend for themselves or join the welfare class and receive government benefits.
First, we must consider whether the government is in a place where it can support an influx of people to this extent. With our near $18 trillion national debt, I am not certain this is wise. Second, our already struggling public schools are likely to be hit hard by this impending intake of students. Schools receiving these students will likely have to hire new instructors who speak Spanish and other languages as well as implement new bilingual education programs, both of which are costly.
I maintain that before any plan of action is pursued regarding those already here illegally that the government must secure the border. Failure to do so is the reason we are in the spot we are in now. Failure to do so will be the reason this same discussion surfaces again in ten years.