So, who’s ready to explore the substance of the immigration move that President Obama made last week and that made The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro such an interruption-pants? (Unwieldy, I know, but it’s the best word for his behavior that I could invent on short notice.) Some will probably call this an undue exercise of executive power. Others will say it’s an extremely due exercise of executive power. I’m personally not thrilled about it, but this is what you get when Congress can’t or won’t act.
The plan will grant two years of legal worker status to up to 800,000 illegal immigrants, at or below 30 years of age, who came over the border as below-16s; are in school or graduated from high school, or have received an honorable discharge from the U.S. military; and who have not been convicted of a felony or “significant misdemeanor” (huh?). It was announced on the 30th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, which entitles these same children to public K-12 education. I bet some people are still bitter about that.
Obama has admitted that this is a stopgap measure and he would prefer comprehensive reform legislation, which thus far has been in line with the reaction of former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA). More than one commentator has suggested that this boxes in Republicans who don’t wish to look bad to Hispanic voters. That hasn’t stopped a few of them. Here are a couple of attack lines:
- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “Today’s announcement . . . is a politically motivated power grab that . . . adds additional confusion and uncertainty to our broken immigration system.”
- Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX): “. . . called Obama’s order a ‘breach of faith’ that . . . will have ‘horrible consequences’ for unemployed Americans who are looking for jobs only to find that illegal immigrants will work for less money.”
For me to accept Smith’s DEY TURK ER JERRRBS argument, I would have to see proof that enough Americans are disappointed to miss out on jobs typically occupied by illegal immigrants, and based on a recent Canadian debate over who deserves unemployment insurance, I’m skeptical. As for McCain’s argument: Yes, it is a power grab, and, yes, it is politically motivated. But is that sufficient opposition?
McCain has been pushing for comprehensive reform for years, so I’m taking him seriously. But until that reform happens, I see more confusion in a system that sends away children of illegal immigrants with clean records as if they were common trash. This is a more sensible stopgap measure than most. It’s just a shame that it came from Obama’s branch of government, not McCain’s.