Your Take

What is your take on President Obama’s decision not to deport young undocumented people?

Washington (CNN) — In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration said Friday it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.

The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy prompted immediate praise from Latino leaders who have criticized Congress and the White House for inaction, while Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty — a negative buzz word among conservatives — and usurps congressional authority….

In a Rose Garden address Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama said the changes caused by his executive order will make immigration policy “more fair, more efficient and more just.”

“This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix,” Obama said to take on conservative criticism of the step. “This is a temporary stopgap measure.”

Noting children of illegal immigrants “study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag,” Obama said, “it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.”…

Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

It also will allow those meeting the requirements to apply for work permits, Napolitano said, adding that participants must be in the United States now and be able to prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years.

The change is part of a department effort to target resources at illegal immigrants who pose a greater threat, such as criminals and those trying to enter the country now, Napolitano said, adding it was “well within the framework of existing laws.”

 

 

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Fred

    “This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix,” If that is true, why wasn’t it done years ago? But then, it is an election year….

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    So if I’m understanding all of this correctly, today the president said that if you were brought to this country at a young age, by no choice of your own, which is to say that if the United States has been your home for as long as you can remember . . . . we will no longer put you handcuffs, put you on a bus or plane, then dump you in a country where you might have been born, but that is otherwise completely foreign to you. Somehow, this is controversial? In a humane, sane world, the country’s collective reaction to today’s announcement would have been, You mean until now, we were actually doing this to people? What the hell is wrong with us?

  • Tessa

    I support it. This primarily will benefit young people who did not do anything wrong – their parents made the decision to enter the country without papers. They are young people who have been educated in U.S. schools and want to be contributing members of society. Why would we turn our backs on them? I’m all for this, but then, I’m a supporter of the DREAM act. Do I think it was done for political reasons? Of course. Am I an Obama supporter? Nope. But I’m delighted this happened, regardless of political expediency.

  • Tessa

    Naum, #2, you said it better than I did in #3. Thanks!

  • http://dereksweatman.tumblr.com Derek Sweatman

    I’m not completely familiar with the laws surrounding this issue, but my guess is that this falls into a no-man’s land category, one that ends up being an issue of ethics and morality and so forth. My limited understanding leads me to believe that what Obama initiated is not in conflict with the law, and, as he said in his speech, a deep part of our country’s history as well, that we are “a nation of immigrants.” I like it personally. This may be in part that we just recently adopted, and the birth parent falls into this category, which means that she will be able to continue on as an honest contributing member of the American culture.

  • Kyle

    The decision by the President’s administration is a good one. The Dream Act stuff is good too along the same lines. It’s not a free-for-all amnesty where we all of a sudden have no borders. Rather, it has reasonable conditions people have to meet in order to qualify. Don’t know about the politics, but, as the previous people said, we need to be taking care of people like this.

  • Kyle

    *by ‘taking care of’ them, I only mean that they deserve the same protections and freedoms as other American citizens given they meet reasonable conditions.

  • Rick

    It is a good start to finding a permanent solution.

    Politically, it was a good move by putting a wedge between a growing chorus of evangelicals who support such actions, and other conservatives who are wanting to hold to a stricter position.

    It potentially puts the swing state of Florida back in play, and makes Romney’s next step on the issue important. It also makes Sen. Rubio a more likely selection as a running mate.

  • http://www.twitter.con/neverinside Tom B.

    The immigration question for Christians, I believe, should be viewed and reframed from the perspective of all people being created in the image of God. Furthermore, in 1 Peter, we see a migration metaphor that expresses our faith in the terms of migration; as we reflect on our own identities in Christ, are we not all “strangers in a strange land?” Immigrants definitely are. What if we allow these “strangers” to help us see and teach is what it means to be a Christian from their perspective? Food for thought….

  • RobS

    I’m conflicted… go figure. On one hand, the executive branch of the government deciding to not enforce laws that may benefit a certain person/class in an election year sets a real bad precedent for the future ways we should be electing people to office in this country.

    However, a lot of this were framework pieces to the Dream Act which was mostly good. The Dream Act should be resurrected, slightly modified and passed. One modification I recall worth while was that a political figure had some discretion in it’s action. They should probably eliminate politicians ability to influence the law (as I kind of stated in the first paragraph).

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I should just give up, but this one should be right [sigh] -

    Aside from the cynicism regarding doing this in an election year (aren’t elections supposed to be a motivation to do good for the people?) this is a good move. Naum’s rhetoric is good, and I want to repeat it:

    Naum#3

    So if I’m understanding all of this correctly, today the president said that if you were brought to this country at a young age, by no choice of your own, which is to say that if the United States has been your home for as long as you can remember . . . . we will no longer put you handcuffs, put you on a bus or plane, then dump you in a country where you might have been born, but that is otherwise completely foreign to you. Somehow, this is controversial? In a humane, sane world, the country’s collective reaction to today’s announcement would have been, You mean until now, we were actually doing this to people? What the hell is wrong with us?

    On a practical level, for all of those who do not want Mexican immigration, you should note that Mexico is a Christian country filled with people who view the world a lot like we do.

  • Shane

    My thought is there is an election coming up and he needs votes.

  • Rick

    DRT #13-

    “Aside from the cynicism regarding doing this in an election year (aren’t elections supposed to be a motivation to do good for the people?)”

    Yet yesterday you noted on another post:

    “One of the major gripes against Romney is that we all think he is going to say whatever he needs to say based on political merit.”

    It seems that when Obama does something political it is for the “good of the people”, yet when Romney does something political he gets criticized for it.

  • http://learningtomove.blogspot.com Erin

    Some argue that these young adults are lawbreakers and that we should not reward this behavior. Some say why should these young adults benefit when so many American young people struggle to get admitted to college and/or find work.

    I contend that these young adults, who grew up in the United States, are Americans. They identify this country as their homeland and they think like Americans.

    I wish Congress would act on immigration reform instead of insisting on ill-defined requirements for securing the border; I’m glad Obama issued this executive order, and I wish he had done it sooner.

  • CGC

    Hi Naum #2,
    Great way of putting this . . .

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick#15, that’s true. Obama’s reputation is that he is going to do things because he is pursuing his ideas and Romney’s is because he strictly caters to the vote. If Romney had done it then it would be fair criticism against him. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Robin! Where are you in this?

  • Patrick

    Besides him violating his oath of office, I think it’s a good move. It’s not within his authority to make laws on his own, we’re really supposed to have the executive enforce the laws he swore to uphold. Current law does not allow this flexibility.

    I wish the immigration laws were more humane myself and would encourage the congress to make them so, but, I do not like living in a nation where 1 man can decide this. He can as easily decide not to do this IF it was law with a group he isn’t soliciting votes from. Or do something way worse, if it’s just his call. What’s to stop him?

    Go see “For Greater Glory”. That happened in Mexico and they were a huge majority of believers. This sets very dangerous precedents of uncontrolled state power even if it is a good idea.

    I heard Tom Wright say in response to a joker from a Nashville audience that the USA operates way more like an ancient monarchy than the UK does with their monarchy and he was right about that. Queen Elizabeth I couldn’t decide stuff like this w/o consultation.

  • JohnM

    DRT #18 – “Obama’s reputation is ..” Say what now??

    Anyone – I’m a little confused on what this does for whom.

    “Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation”

    The two-year deferral is one part that I’m wondering about. What does that mean? I also wonder how “successful student” is defined – I’m guessing the meaning will be stretched, I really don’t see anybody ending up being deported based on lack of academic success alone. I note, it is already the case that non-U.S. citizens who have served in our military have an accelerated path to citizenship if they so desire, I don’t see so much value added there. For that matter, if we’re going to do anything like this why would the ultimate goal be a path to citizenship anyway?

  • JohnM

    #19 – I Meant to say “..why would the ultimate goal NOT be a path to citizenship anyway?”

  • Rob Dunbar

    Here are my problems:

    1. It is NOT a path to citizenship, and that is what is desperately needed. I have no problem with any amnesty of any kind, so long as it is part of a comprehensive package that leads to that “path to citizenship” that all are recommending. This isn’t that.

    2. It’s an end-run around Congress. The President is within his rights to enforce laws selectively, but that borders on legislating; and legislation is the job of Congress. This president never really pushed hard on immigration reform (Rick Perry pushed harder in his campaign–RICK PERRY!). Looks like a wedge issue from where I sit.

  • Marshall

    Naum at #2 is plagiarizing Randy Balko at The Agitator. Unless he is Randy, of course. hmm?

  • Marshall

    Meanwhile, on the question, Our President has been throwing these pebbles in the water lately, but meanwhile the Big Machine rocks and rolls. Whatever did happen to that hopey changey thing?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    JohnM, the right wing cannot have it every way they want it! Here is an article along with Fox news coverage calling the President

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/rep-west-obama-is-a-rigid-ideologue-leading-by-intimidation-and-scare-tactics/

    He says Obama ” he’s being a rigid ideologue” and then Obama leads by “intimidation and scare tactics and that’s not what a leader really does.”

    I assume what you were questioning was my characterization of Obama, because I don’t think there is a person on this earth that would question whether Romney has a reputation for pandering to whoever will get him the job.

  • http://drawntotorah.wordpress.com Jon Philips

    On one hand, it makes complete sense. On the other hand, I can’t help but think it’s politically motivated.

  • T

    This is a good thing.

    Patrick, if you’re going to bemoan growing Presidential and/or prosecutorial power, there are dozens or even hundreds of other examples, many that involve the use of deadly force; please focus on those abuses if concentration of power is truly your concern. Further, even in times of public surpluses, there are always many, many more laws on the books than there are resources to fully police and prosecute all violations. Choices of which violations will be a priority and which won’t get made all the time, and often in a way that is far more arbitrary or even malicious. Good for the President for setting the feds priorities in this way in immigration cases.

    To answer Naum’s question, yes, we were doing this to people. That’s part of our nonsensical, patch-work immigration policy. I know a woman at my mother’s church who didn’t even know she wasn’t a citizen. Her parents came here with her from Haiti when she was a toddler. She only speaks English and has never been to Haiti. When she was a senior in high school, volunteer officials came to help all the seniors who were over 18 register to vote, so she registered and has voted ever since. Several years later (after she herself had children), she gets charged with multiple federal felonies, not only for the illegal immigration, but also for voting as such! She is a young mother with small children, all of whom have only ever spoken English, and she is facing deportation to a country she has never known and has no known family.

    I don’t care about the politics. This change is good and right. Frankly, the hostility that rank and file Repubs have shown to any leader, even in their own party (George W. Bush, McCain, etc.), who has publicly suggested that we need more humane, common sense reform to immigration rules (like this executive order) has made me want to change my registration. If people think this is a good idea, they should just say so, regardless of which party they like. These are real people facing deportation. It matters.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Marshall, plagiarizing (wow, is that really how that is spelled?) is hardly appropriate. He did put it in italics and we do not have edit capability. Perhaps “was not clear about the source”

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Holy mackerel T! I want to change my registration too, but it is too much fun to tell people I am a republican. It’s like the only people that can tell black jokes are black people, though that is starting to change now too.

  • Fred

    I have no problem with the morality of the decision. It’s the timing of it all. Was it really done out of compassion….or expediency?

  • Rick

    DRT #16-

    But you indicated that even political motives were ok because they could bring about good for people. You seem to indicate that Obama may have had that as his motive, but it is ok, yet it is not ok when Romney does it.

    You also seem to want to paint all of Romney’s positions (“strictly”) as politically motivated, rather than certain ones, and rather than as a primary factor.

    Does Obama take some/any of his positions on primarily political motives?

  • Patrick

    T,

    Well I agree we’ve been heading down this path for a century, but, it’s really rare when a POTUS openly says he will ignore his legal responsibilities like this. Most these guys try and hide stuff like this.

    Plus, consider this. IF you cannot deport a child who is here illegally, guess who else you cannot deport? Their parents. It would be morally flawed to do one w/o the other wouldn’t it? My guess is a court case would find it unlawful to forcefully separate families like that.

    That’s a dangerous policy choice and the way he arrived at it is more dangerous.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick,

    I am not taking as strong of a stance on this as you suggest. I believe that the political process can instigate positive change, not that “even political motives were ok”. Many political motives, and in this age perhaps most, are not OK. But that does not mean all are not OK.

    So, we have to look at the person. I believe the predominant beef I have seen from the right against Obama (aside from people saying he is ineffective) is that he is an ideologue. That he is trying to be socialist, and make government big etc. The article I referenced was from just 4 days ago, where the right was attacking him for exactly that.

    If he is an ideologue, and this was part of his ideology then it is good that he, perhaps, accelerated what he is doing so the politics will work out for him. That is fine. If he is not an ideologue then I suggest that the right has a lot of ‘splaining to do.

    Regarding Romney, I don’t want to paint all of his positions strictly or otherwise as politically motivated. I actually don’t understand his motivate and that is one of the big problems I have with him. He seems to not have a fundamental outlook that we can count on other than to make the country better for big business. If you have another theory on what drives that guy then I would love to hear it because I can’t figure him out.

    Now don’t get me wrong, he may feel that the only way to get the country going is by helping the rich get richer and the big business to run the country. I suppose that I should take as a given. In that case, I just think the guy is not much of a Christian.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    For the record, I am sorely disappointed in Obama. He has turned out to be very different than I expected and I wish he was not the president.

    But I would like a republican presidency even less right now. That would be a big big mistake.

    Obama failed to get single payer health care, failed to really inspire the poor black communities, failed to stand down our defense juggernaut, failed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, failed to be the inspirational leader (like a Reagan) that he could be, and much more. And most dishearteningly, he did not successfullly stand up to a republican party that has totally lost its way and has decided that their power is more important than the success of the country! Not exactly a good track record.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I also have to point out that the word “political” has taken on a decidedly different connotation that it should have and that is largely the result of the gridlock and partisanship that is happening in our government.

    When I met with my local state representative I asked that he stand up for the poor and underprivalaged. That he not discriminate against people. He responded that he is there to do what the majority of the people want, and that is it. But that is wrong

    Our representative democracy was meant to put people in power who could make better judgments than us. People who knew more than us. If we are reducing our civic leaders and political process to purely democratic process then we should get the voting machinery from American Idol and let the people vote for their favorites!

    That is the bad part of politics and the bad dynamic that is in power right now.

    We have a guy with a 12th grade education, if we are lucky, calling the shots out there. Yes, give more to the rich so they will give me a job! No, don’t let any of those lazy people in city get my money! Yes, fight a war in someone else’s country so it is not here and I can have cheap oil and TV’s. And guess what. That plays right into the ideas of the oligarchy that is being created, and is created, to run this country.

    It should be obvious to everyone that we should put money aside in good times, and go into debt in bad times. That is very simple but it is totally lost on the republican high school mentality that is out there. They said, under Bush, “we have a good economy, give us more money!!!!”, so they reduced taxes. Now when the economy has gone south they say “I want to keep my money and you need to take it from the poor and downtrodden, the meek and powerless to get us back on our feet”. This is plain old silly.

    And just to show you how silly it is, the repub idea of the government can’t create jobs and stimulate the economy is flat out wrong and dangerous. If the fed government decided to give me a job to move a very large pile of dirt from point A to point B, then I will have more money. I will buy more, I will have a job. No person is going to lose their job in the short run because I am moving that pile of dirt.

    We need government spending.

    The republicans are all saying that Obama wants to follow Europe and socialism. But in fact they are the ones that are espousing the exact economic policies that are killing Europe. The austerity perspective may be fine in a short amount, but that is driving the economy down.

    The big difference between what is going on in the US and Europe right now is that the US has not retracted spending as much as they have. And we need to increase spending!

    The people are not the ones that need to be making the decisions right now. The high school educated guy on the street can’t make these decisions.

  • T

    Patrick,

    It’s not a dangerous policy; please look at the details. You are mistaken; the parents of the woman at my church (and most if not all of the parents of the folks covered by this policy) can still be deported. And the families can, of course, all leave the US together. The problem is for people who are now young adults or close to it who have only known the US as their country, or have been here long enough to have their only roots here. Some of these, like this woman I know, don’t even know they are not US citizens.

    Patrick, if you are going to call this policy dangerous, please look at it, and the people I am talking about, much more closely. Imagine them as one of your friends, who always thought he was an American, being charged as a criminal; facing deportation to a country he doesn’t know, and can’t even speak the language.

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    @Marshall, did not claim the quote to be mine — it is why it was in italics, /sorry for leaving off the signature source, but I was not sure/did not recall (at the time of posting) who “The Agitator” was. /thanks for correcting my oversight :)

  • Peter

    Seems like a good thing to do; more appropriate for a king than for a president, but there’s little evidence that the current administration understands the distinction.
    DRT (34): when “the gov’t” gives you that job, where do you suppose the money came for your wages? That’s the problem with thinking that the gov’t can create either jobs or wealth: it’s just printing money.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Peter, so my job is not real? So what if they are printing money for my job, it is a job and it helps. What is your point?

  • Fish

    Without government, there is no civilization, and without civilization there are very few jobs. Examine the level of employment in Somalia. Examine the tide of history and ask the Native Americans what happens when organized societies meet unorganized societies.

    Government, a way of cooperation by which we together do things we cannot do alone, is more critical to job creation than the existence of corporations, legal fictions to help investors reduce risk.

  • Patrick

    T,

    I just disagree with your assessment. No American court will tolerate forcefully separating families, so the parents may not be deported once a suit is filed and completed. I’m not a lawyer, but, no kid will have to go to Mexico after parental deportation to stay with their parents because it won’t happen.
    It doesn’t take a top legal mind to see the legal strategy here. I bet there’s a lawsuit like this the first time a parent is deported IF that happens(I suspect it won’t be).

    An amnesty would make more logic, that is a one off event w/o permanent repercussions. This thing has far reaching permanent repercussions. It’s a very unwise choice as well as illegal. Unwise because it just might enhance resistance to Hispanic integration. You know how people act when times are hard.

    I am personally for a legislative act that would amnesty all illegal non criminal immigrants because it’s the wise thing to do IMO and we’re done with the Mexican immigration wave anyway, they stopped having children down there just as we have .

    However, right now is the absolute worst time to do that due to the awful economy which may soon be heading south due to Europe and China slowing down.

    Those folks you know personally are better served by the government ignoring their status until the economy comes back, then granting a lawful general amnesty through the way we do things, i.e. the congress passes a law and the executive executes it.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Patrick, T is a lawyer.

  • MWK

    After one of worst set of weeks in his presidency, and after 3 years if stating he couldn’t do what he just did, this is as a political of a move as it gets. For the record, I agree with the policy, but not how it was done or the timing.

  • Jeremy

    Patrick, you should probably do a little research before asserting what courts won’t do. “Your kid can stay, but you have to go” is rather common, particularly in the case of “anchor babies” where the child is an actual citizen. Last year alone, the US deported over 100k parents of US-born children.

    I think this is the right step. The use of executive orders and selective enforcement is nothing new…Obama’s just the first one not to try to hide it, at last in my memory.

  • Mark E. Smith

    I’m still trying to figure out how an illegal immigrant gets into the military in the first place.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X