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Obama provides hope for immigration

On Friday, President Barack Obama took perhaps one of the most important stands of his political career, making a formal announcement that he would pursue a policy change that discourages the deportation of the children of illegal immigrants and would provide work permits to as many as 800,000 young people — a good number of whom are students.

While the range of opinions with regards to immigration and immigration reform in the United States is vast, it cannot be denied that for more than a century, the U.S. has shone brightly as a beacon of hope for a better life to many. America has always been known as the land of opportunity, and hence it attracts individuals from many different countries, continents, and ways of life — all hoping to get their own slice of the American pie, whether to improve their own lives or that of their families.

So in a sense, Obama’s support of such an endeavor pays tribute to the United States’ long-lasting tradition of opening its arms to those who want a better chance. Arguably, the path to citizenship in America should be more streamlined and efficient, and setting up illegal immigrants with the opportunity to  earn their citizenship through work is a useful solution to the so-called “immigrant problem.” At the very least, it’s certainly a much more productive and perhaps more cost-effective proposal than, say, building a wall at the southern border to bar a good portion of illegal immigrants.

But more importantly, Obama’s policy is closely in line with the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, proposed in Aug. 2001 by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Dick Durbin. The DREAM Act aimed to provide “conditional permanent residency” to certain illegal immigrants who demonstrated a good moral character and had either attended high school in the U.S. or arrived in America as a minor. Young immigrants were thus able to pursue a path toward permanent citizenship through this program, especially if they endeavored to go on to college or enlist in the American military.

While the DREAM Act has been brought up and presented to Congress for several years, it has never quite made it out. Many Americans feel as though the DREAM Act aims to act as a handout or a welfare crutch instead of a stepping stone for young immigrants, citing such things as the fact that the DREAM Act does allow some illegal immigrants who are in college to be eligible for in-state tuition. This hits home especially in the state of Texas, where the DREAM Act has consistently been a debated issue. While it’s unfairly attributed that Latinos would be the sole beneficiaries of the DREAM Act — indeed, it applies to illegal immigrants from all walks of life — a majority of the Act’s advocates are Latinos. And many college students across the country who identify as Latino are strong supporters of the Act, likely because it would be something that could help them, too, or someone they know, formally become American citizens.

As Obama stated during Friday’s announcement, “(These) young people pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way — but on paper.”

It could be argued that Obama’s stance on this issue is a little convenient given that this is an election year. The youth vote was vital for Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and by taking a stand on behalf of young illegal immigrants seeking to rebuild their lives in America, it’s likely that Obama will gain much support from the Latino population and young liberals this November as well.

It’s more likely, however, that this is Obama saying more or less that the “sins of the father” shouldn’t fall upon the children, and that they should be given a fair chance to become formal American citizens. If young illegal immigrants are willing to work to become citizens, the land of opportunity should allow them that opportunity.

Bradford Howard is a creative writing senior and may be reached at [email protected].


  • Unbiased reporting — how refreshing!

    In regards to the “issue,” I can only see the positive effects outweigh the negative backlash. The beneficiaries, per the qualification requirements, will now be able to work and help jump-start the economy by adding more taxable income — not to mention application fees — and healthy competition in the job market.

    Like President Obama said: It’s the right thing to do.

  • Hispanic that fall for this Obama ploy are total fools.
    Ask yourself about this policy … why now? Why not when he and his party had TOTAL CONTROL OF CONGRESS for two years?
    Because Obama needs to shore up his faltering Hispanic constituency … in June … of an election year. Blacks, probably about 20% or more will stay home because of this policy as well Obama’s pandering to the Gays. And a number of legal Hispanics will stay home as well.
    Why would a legal Hispanic support this policy when it only makes a tougher job market for them. No one ever talks about that. And Blacks already have a tough enough time with unemployment, and Obama throws this gasoline in their already flaming fire.
    It’s really ALL ABOUT JOBS in the end, and Obama has no record to run on in that aspect of the election. Romney thankfully has a record of job creation. Hence, this Obama no deport policy now, and later he plans to forgive student loans and underwater mortgages (which only fail too).
    Heck, if Obama got no bump off this in the polls, then he is definitely in trouble. Obama’s a weak leader … even liberal commentators are starting to see that given the disasterous G20 conference, which is truly …
    “Unbiased reporting — how refreshing!”

  • Sorry, but me and many others continue to disagree (though over various reasons).

    Remember as you’re trying to pay off student loans, and you can’t find a decent job, that one of these estimated 800,000 people who didn’t even get here legally may have taken it.

    Or for those of us that took the legal route to be a citizen or resident, that these people got the easier way out. A slap in the face essentially.

    Also remember that this rewards people that committed a crime, did not consider potential problems it may bring their children, and bring more competition for funds and scholarships among naturalized citizens.

    Overall it’s a bad idea, and an example of using executive power to influence the vote in time for elections.

    • I’m sure; It’s okay to disagree, however, I think it’s an even greater slap to the faces of these young adults you’re calling “criminals.” After all, they were brought here by their parents, who interestingly enough, probably didn’t have reasonable accessibility to these “legal routes” you mention. If you took the proper channels in becoming a legal resident or citizen, congratulations — and consider yourself lucky.
      There’s no argument that these young adults will be rewarder — I think that’s great. What a worthy reward for a worthy group of people.
      Furthermore, if you think that this is bait for votes, think again. As you know, one must be a U.S. citizen to vote thus making your initial argument void.
      Don’t be afraid of competition; embrace it and I promise you that you will only become a stronger individual.
      Didn’t they show you to share in Pre-K?

  • I came here legally and so did many others. Deport illegals. All of them. What a slap into the face of LEGAL immigrants.

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