Ticking Tate off: Get it together
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 14:06
President Barack Obama recently announced a sweeping change to the United States’ immigration policy by drafting his executive version of the Dream Act.
According to the President, the soon-to-be Executive Order 13617 will instruct the Department of Homeland Security to no longer actively engage in deporting undocumented immigrants who entered the country before the age of 16, who maintained residency for five years, who are high school graduates in college classes or are military veterans of good standing.
The exempted immigrants must be under 30 and have clean criminal records.
Obama was also quick to point out that this is a temporary measure. Undocumented immigrants will have to renew their eligibility for amnesty every two years, but what’s most interesting about this reform isn’t the policy changes—it’s the reaction.
Pretend for a second that you’re a rational American college graduate from Iowa. It turns out you’re so rational, you’ve been elected to represent the Hawkeye State in the United States Senate.
You know there could be up to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. You know that up to 1.4 million of these immigrants could be protected from deportation under the new policy. And as a college graduate and senator, you know that past Presidents have issued executive orders to shape U.S. policy. Consider Executive Order 9981 for example, which President Harry Truman issued in 1948 to desegregate the U.S. military.
Given this information, I’d assume that you could either:
A) agree with the policy and commend the president or
B) disagree with the policy and give a rational, informed reason why.
But it turns out you’re Senator Charles Grassley, senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Making the answer:
C) Question the President’s authority to issue an executive order, call the policy irresponsible and lambast Obama’s decision-making skills.
“The President’s action is an affront to the process of representative government by circumventing Congress and with a directive he may not have the authority to execute,” Grassley said. “It seems the President has put election-year politics above responsible policies.”
I don’t buy that Grassley actually believes Obama doesn’t have the “authority to execute” the new chages. Not a bit. After all, I’m just a community college student who looked up the immigration statistics and executive order history using Google and Wikipedia. He’s a 78-year-old senator who was a high school teenager when Executive Order 9981 was passed in 1948.
Grassley’s response represents a continuing vendetta against Democratic-backed legislation in the Senate. Since President Obama came to office in 2009, Senate Republicans have blocked 375 bills backed by House Democrats.
House Republican Jim Jordan was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying “Why not wait for the reinforcements?” This attitude reflects a growing party sentiment that Mitt Romney will be the One True Republican worthy and capable of pushing key measures through Congress.
Romney himself went on to lash out at Obama for engaging in what he describes as election-year politics (isn’t that what Romney’s been doing for the past year anyway?), saying the President “should have worked on this years ago.”
Which he did. In the failed 2010 Dream Act, which was also blocked by Senate Republicans.
To be fair, Obama’s action is election-year politics. The phrase is used to perpetuate the stereotype of the slicked-hair, oily-skinned politician, but in actuality, it’s the policies that are passed during election years that have the greatest effects. It’s no different from a superstar athlete performing their best in a contract year. This is a much-needed reform that addresses a glaring problem with immigration policy. Californians already passed AB540, which allows students like Crescencio Calderon to represent the Citrus student body as a student trustee.
Calderon is extremely active around campus—which can’t be said for all ASCC members—and I respect him for that. He’s a perfect example of how the state Dream Act can benefit Citrus College, and by proxy, schools nationwide.
So I commend President Obama for being proactive. His 2008 campaign was based on a call for “change.” So be it.
Next time Republicans want to block “unauthorized,” “election-year” reforms, they should try putting their egos aside before they end up getting bruised.