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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Immigration Nation Column: Obama’s executive order cannot be allowed to stand alone

    The U.S.’s immigration policies are broken. Nearly all Americans realize the status quo is untenable and unsustainable. The U.S. needs a system that secures its borders, keeping criminals and drugs out of the country, and welcomes individuals and families that seek to better their life.

    President Barack Obama’s executive order is a very small step in the right direction. Improvements in border security, procedures that deal with high-skilled immigrants who are vital to the U.S. economy and a plan that keeps families from the danger of deportation are all laudable steps.

    The trouble with the executive order is this: Obama has decided to act alone without working with Congress to pass a bill that is comprehensible or comprehensive enough to fix the entire system.

    Many of his supporters claim that Obama ought to act alone since congressional Republicans are more interested in theatrics that pander to their political base than working with the president. The election results of 2012 and 2014 ought to teach the two sides that the American people are interested in bipartisan solutions, not gridlock and drama.

    Obama and the GOP Congress would be wise to set aside the political theatrics and pass an immigration bill. Together.

    Second, many claim that the president has the authority to decide who gets deported. While the president does in fact have this authority, he would be wise not to exercise this power unilaterally.

    Instead, he should work towards a much stronger plan, with input and support from Congress, that can make these policies more permanent. It would be a shame to make a policy such as this, one that keeps families together, merely a short-term gimmick.

    Unilateral executive orders such as this are butterfly band-aids to a much deeper and more serious wound.

    Lastly, many point to executive orders by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush that were just as broad as Obama’s executive order. However, both involved both congressional and legislative action.

    In 1986, Congress passed a law that paved the way for legal statutes for nearly 3 million people. It was only afterwards that the Reagan administration allowed for children of parents who were given legal status as a result of the 1986 law to stay in the U.S.

    In 1990, Bush allowed for relatives living with a legalized immigrant who was in the U.S. prior to the 1986 law to be protected from deportation through executive orders, similar to what Obama has done. In October of that year, Congress expanded this policy and made these protections permanent.

    One can hope that Obama and the GOP-led Congress can accomplish what that Republican president and Democratic Congress achieved: making substantive reforms permanent through congressional approval, not simply presidential fiat.

    Good policy is no excuse for the president not consulting the Congress. Procedures, not just outcomes, are important in this republic.

    Otherwise, we could have stuck with King George III.

    While Obama’s action is a step in the right direction, it is hardly “overhauling the nation’s immigration system” as many claim it to be. The only way to achieve true immigration reform is for both sides, in both branches of government, to come together and pass a bill. Together.

    We, a country of immigrants, would benefit immensely from it.


    Casey Hoyack is a politics, philosophy, economics and law senior. Follow him on Twitter.

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