Tribune News Service
Amnesty. A word that strikes fear in the souls of many Americans who see the concept as consent to open borders and millions of illegal border-hoppers jumping over a non-existent fence to steal good ole American jobs and destroying American culture.
However, supporters of amnesty in the United States do not advocate open borders nor do they wish to hand out green cards or American passports to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that enters the country with no intention of learning English and every intention of wreaking havoc on the hard-working natural born citizens trying to achieve the American dream.
The spotlight has shone on the matter recently after President Obama’s speech and issuance of an executive order to grant Amnesty and a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants residing in the United States; however, this is no free ride for immigrants.
Since October, tired and with no known relatives to speak of, over 50,000 children have entered the United States from Central and South American nations seeking safety and refuge. Upon President Obama’s call, Congress issued nearly $4 billion to take these children into custody and provide for them until a decision was made as to their fates (Greenbalt, npr).
Prior to the 2014 midterm elections, immigration was a matter that has weighed heavily on Congress and the President. In early September, President Obama stated, “I’m going to act because it’s the right thing for the country.”
With this statement, he delayed any executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections in what was deemed by many as purely a political move to protect Democrats on the ticket (CNN.com).
On November 20, President Obama gave an address regarding his executive order, which consisted of three main tenets. The first would strengthen borders to cut down on illegal crossings. The second will “make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.” The final piece was a path to documentation for the millions of immigrants who already reside within this country– who have jobs, families, and lives here, and have been here for “four or five years” (whitehouse.gov).
The debate over the order stems from two principal ideals. First, did President Obama have the Constitutional authority to issue an executive order to grant Amnesty or should the matter have been left to Congress? The second, does the Constitutionality matter?
As Constitutionality is concerned, Article 2, section 2 of the Constitution states, “…he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States…”
Based on this line, President Obama does have the Constitutional authority to act on immigration matters by eliminating the fear of deportation for these immigration. Though President Bush and Reagan also issued executive orders regarding immigration, an order of this scale is unprecedented, and it makes many people nervous; however, the fact of the matter is that executive power has been on the rise for decades, and even in this action, President Obama is well within his Constitutional boundaries because he is not granting blanket amnesty, simply temporarily pardoning the immigrants in fear of deportation so they can get on a path to documentation.
However, say it were ruled that the President’s actions are unconstitutional, does it matter? The Constitution was written centuries ago by a group of men who validated treating some other men as less than human and disregarded women completely.
For fear of being anachronistic, much of the Constitution is taken verbatim from the English Bill of Rights and Magna Carta, which are no longer used in practice. This might be used as evidence for much of the the American Constitution’s obsoleteness. The most essential pieces of the document are arguably the amendments and Bill of Rights, which actually guarantee individual freedoms that the initial body of the Constitution does not mention. Perhaps it is time for a rewrite.
Perhaps it was time for action to be taken in the name of simple justice to guarantee that, for a few years, families could attempt seek legal status without fear of being torn from their loved ones as thousands are daily. Children who had no place in their families’ decisions and parents who were only seeking a better future for their children, who speak English, who are educated, who have jobs, now have a chance to achieve freedom and success in a nation that preaches opportunity and equality at the root of its being. It was the right thing to do.