The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

91° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Obama’s executive order grants illegal immigrants work permits

    President Barack Obama announced a new policy that grants certain illegal immigrants work permits. Some call it an election-year policy change and others claim it highlights the importance of the Latino vote to the president.

    In 2010, Congress rejected a similar policy that was part of the Dream Act. This time around, the policy, backed by the Department of Homeland Security, stops deportation of illegal immigrants but does not offer citizenship down the road according to a White House report.

    The executive order applies to those under the age of 30 and who have immigrated illegally under the age of 16. Along with these age requirements, they must have lived in the country for at least five years with a scot-free criminal record, have a high school diploma and currently be in school or serving in the military. The work permit will be valid for two years and can be renewed after that.

    Experts from Pew Hispanic Center estimate this policy will affect close to 1.4 million individuals, 70 percent of them from Mexico.

    Whether the directive is right or wrong, good or bad, the actions taken by the President closely resemble another political ploy to get reelected. Many find the action ironic due to Obama’s track record of strict immigration policies. During the last four years, he has deported more illegal immigrants than any other U.S. President since the 1950s. According to the New York Times, under his presidency 1.1 million illegal immigrants have been deported.

    Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will now be pushed to voice his solution to our country’s illegal immigration issue because of the new executive order. This turns election year into an even larger spider-web for voters.

    Will Obama win the Latino vote for his new policy or will they recognize his move as highly political?

    Politicians are smart people. Regardless of their true views, the policies that will get them reelected are going to be voiced first. Obama could have issued an executive order early on in his term, but he waited until now, less than six months away from Election Day.

    For illegal immigrants, this provides an opportunity to work legally in the US for the first time. For many grumbling politicians, they see the executive order as granting amnesty to all who knowingly crossed the border illegally and are now being rewarded for doing so.

    This policy may be beneficial for our country and immigrants, but it didn’t have to be done by an executive order.

    It is quite certain that many illegal immigrants in our country will gladly work to help boost our economy. It is also less messy and cruel than deportation. However, Congress and the president need to be co-strategizing a long-term solution and not a quick executive action to solve this one.

    Courtney L’Ecuyer is a journalism and public health senior. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

    More to Discover
    Activate Search