Opinion: Opinions are aplenty on Obama’s immigration order
Special to the Bonanza
If there was ever a subject for which it is impossible to get an objective, unbiased opinion, the clear winner is Obama’s executive order granting immunity from deportation to illegal aliens who meet his criteria.
The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that it is a political lightning rod.
It provides a three year exemption from deportation for anyone who has resided in the United States unlawfully for five or more years and who has at least one child who is a US citizen (children of immigrants who are born here are US citizens under the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution).
Excluded are those who have committed a crime. The measure has kindled both heat and smoke and a great deal of public debate.
Opposition from the right characterizes the order as “amnesty”; supporters on the left complain that it is not broad enough. A recent bi-partisan poll shows 36 percent of registered voters support it, 60 percent oppose it and 4 percent don’t have an opinion.
If you value your sanity don’t get caught up in the argument that the order is unconstitutional. There are only five people on earth who can make that determination … a majority of the justices on the US Supreme Court.
There is no shortage of opinions on the measure, but what does it look like to the illegal alien? To find out, I recently attended a session of the Nevada Latin Chamber of Business to hear immigration lawyer Abogado Victor Salsido explain the measure to Latino businessmen.
He began by saying that much is still to be learned because the administration has 180 days to establish regulations and procedures to implement the order.
Salsido compared it to Obama’s earlier measure called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which gave immunity from deportation to children of illegal aliens who were 16 or under when brought into the US by their parents. DACA only defers deportation; it grants a work authorization and allows applicants to obtain a federal tax identification number.
It does not grant residency or US citizenship. The new executive order is expected to do the same.
How about disqualification due to a criminal record? Clearly a felony conviction excludes an applicant from the program. How about misdemeanors? How about prior deportation? The answers are hopefully forthcoming, but unknown at present.
How about pending deportation proceedings? DACA stayed deportation proceedings when that order was issued so it is expected Obama’s new order will also.
How about Obamacare? That law states that no illegal immigrant can access Obamacare insurance so those who have qualified under DACA or who qualify under Obama’s current order will have to figure something else out or pay the annual “tax” for being uninsured.
How about fairness of Obama’s order to other immigrants already in line.? According to Salsido there is no “line.” Under current laws an immigrant cannot self-petition for citizenship.
The petition must come from a resident citizen family member or an employer under the H1B Visa Program or something similar. The exception is the “Investor’s Visa,” a provision in US law which allows an immigrant legal status if he/she invests $1 million to start a US business and hires 10 or more people ($500,000 in high unemployment areas).
Obama’s half measures are clearly not the answers. What will it take to get legislation? Democratic lawmakers who nominally favor immigration reform hypocritically insisted Obama delay his order until after the election.
Republican lawmakers from states with large Latino populations (including Nevada) are sympathetic but other GOP legislators are adamantly opposed.
Looks like they all read the polls so absent a shift in public opinion Democrats will continue to point fingers at Republicans, sympathetic Republicans will remain sympathetic and Tea Party Republicans will continue to harp on the unconstitutionality of Obama’s executive orders.
Is this any way to run a railroad?
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.