What are the positive and negative impacts on American citizens resulting from President Obama’s illegal immigrant executive action in November?
Arianna Mendez – FL, Florida International University 2014 Masters Degree, Bio
How does President Obama’s executive action on immigration affect the immigration debate? On November 20, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation to announce a series of executive actions that give temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
Specifically, President Obama’s set of executive actions will give illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for at least five years and who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents, a three year work permit.
According to the Pew Research Center, 3.5 million illegal immigrants would qualify for this program.
The set of executive actions will also expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Prior to this new set of executive actions, only those illegal immigrants who were born before 1981 and entered the U.S as a minor before 2007 were eligible for benefits.
Now, all illegal immigrants who entered the United States as a minor before 2007 will be eligible for benefits. An additional 235,000 illegal immigrants will gain eligibility for benefits, according to the Pew Research Center.
More than a Hispanic, but as an American, I believe our immigration system is broken. We need a better high tech visa system, secure the border, address visa overstays, and create some pathway to citizenship for illegals that includes paying fines, back taxes, and waiting a period before being eligible for citizenship and government benefits.
In addition, we need to deport illegals with criminal records. Instead of advancing the immigration debate, President Obama’s executive action on immigration will infuriate conservatives and potentially sabotage any possibility for meaningful immigration reform with the incoming Congress.
Unfortunately, these actions will only provide a temporary reprieve for millions of illegal immigrants who don’t deserve to continue in an indeterminate state of uncertainty.
Paul Bremmer – Wash D.C., St. Bonaventure University 2012 Graduate, Bio
President Obama’s executive action on immigration will mostly impact the illegal aliens covered under the order. However, it will also impact American citizens, and I believe it will harm more than it helps.
First off, it will take jobs away from Americans by letting about 5 million illegal immigrants compete on an equal footing with citizens. Because illegal immigrants tend to be relatively uneducated, it is primarily low-skilled Americans who will lose jobs.
Perhaps worst of all, though, the president’s executive action will crush the spirits of millions of legal Americans. It will give the impression our borders and laws mean nothing. It will make fools out of all the foreigners who stood in line and took the time to legally migrate to America.
By rewarding 5 million people for breaking the law, Obama will encourage millions more to come flooding into this country illegally. Would-be illegal migrants will know all they have to do is sneak across the border, then stay in the shadows and wait for the next amnesty. And, there will be another amnesty – politicians in both parties have been all too willing to support it over the years.
Any positive impacts on American citizens will depend on the government’s willingness to enforce certain provisions of this executive order. Obama promised tighter border security and a focus on deporting criminals and terrorists. If the administration actually follows through with those aspects, Americans may find that their country is a safer place, filled with smart, entrepreneurial immigrants rather than Latino gangsters and street thugs.
But past presidents have talked tough about securing the border and then not followed through, so I’m far from convinced Obama will crack down on illegal criminals and border crossers.