Last night, November 20 will go down in history as a moment, when a beleaguered President Obama, used his executive power to bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the light of day. It was a courageous action, the fulfillment of a promise that he had made to the American people. His action was not only humane but practical.
No longer will human beings be fearful of a knock on the door in the middle of the night, when a person could be dragged away to be deported. Approximately 5 million people who have been in this country for at least 5 years without proper documentation will have the opportunity to be free of fear. No longer should a family fear that they will be separated. His action, were both humane and practical. Can you imagine the cost for the deportation of 11 million people at $20,000 per person?
The action is perhaps only temporary, in that the next President has the right and power to change the action. But for the moment this President has taken action on an issue that for too long has been begging for reform. It is hard to find anyone who believes that our immigration system is not broken. The Senate in a bi-partisan vote passed a strong immigration bill and sent it to the House of Representatives over a year ago. That bill had 68 senators agree on a tough bill, but instead of taking up the measure for a vote the House has done nothing.
We the people have heard all kinds of extreme comments regarding the President’s anticipated action from claims that anarchy would occur to the threat of impeachment. According to a few extremists every thing this President has done has exceeded his authority. Their partisanship has colored their reason.
Presidents in the past have taken action with the use of executive orders to solve a problem. President Lincoln used his power to issue the Emancipation Proclamation to free our slaves. President Franklin Roosevelt issued the most executive orders during our Great Depression. President Obama has freed at least for the moment millions of people from their own particular kind of bondage.
President Obama is not the only President who has acted in a humane way, President Reagan, gave amnesty to millions of people who had set down roots in our country. We need to end the hypocrisy in dealing with undocumented workers. Undocumented workers clean our toilets, clean our tables and pick our strawberries. They do the painstaking work of picking apart chickens. Corporate America wants their cheap labor but many Americans frankly do not want them here under any circumstances. Those who are undocumented are here illegally but for common sense reasons we need to know who they are. As a result of President Obama’s action they will pay taxes and thereby help the economy and for national security reasons we will know who is here. For civil rights and human rights reasons we will take them out of the darkness and free them from fear. Perhaps the action that was taken will create the impetus necessary for Congress to have the courage to finally deal with the broken immigration system. We can only hope!