June 19th, 2012 by Abby Keane
Immigration Update: USCIS announced they will be accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as of August 15, 2012. Find out if you are eligible for DACA here!
The recent executive order commissioned by President Barack Obama which, in effect, ceases the deportation of young illegal immigrants with certain qualifications has further fed the fiery discussion surrounding immigration reform.
Many conservatives have tagged the president’s decree to be nothing more than an amnesty program or, at worst, the administration’s attempt to circumvent the legislative process and implement the DREAM Act.
A cursory examination of the new policy will reveal that it is perfectly within the rights of the president to enact such a decree. These edicts, more formally known as executive orders, are subject to review by the other branches of the government as part of the American system of checks and balances.
It’s important to realize that this new policy is not an amnesty program, nor is it the DREAM Act. Though some might say that it was, the DREAM Act was not an amnesty program either. An amnesty program would effectively absolve all illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States from applying for citizenship or permanent residence. Considering the political climate of the United States this is an unlikely event; the new policy is the best possible compromise for now. The current executive order is really just another route by which a person can get permission to work in the United States, apply for permanent residence and then, eventually, citizenship.
Fareed Zakaria, a contributor for Time and CNN and a naturalized citizen of the United States, is at the forefront of the immigration debate and has been talking about it on his television show, Fareed Zakaria GPS. The show discusses how the immigration process stands now it is easier to get a green card through close family members than by dint of one’s accomplishments and skills. It is in this way that United States immigration is at odds with other countries’ more successful immigration systems which prefer immigrants with useful skills. While it is heart-warming to know that the United States allows its morals to dictate policy the reunion of family members this plan promotes is rather impractical from an economic standpoint. There have been arguments in the past that claim immigrants that come into the United States do not contribute to the well-being of the country and no wonder when the primary reason that the country lets people in is for familial familiarity and not their resumes. A prudent change to current policy would be to encourage the immigration of experienced and educated people aside from just family qualifications.
This is a sensible strength of recent proposed immigration reform. For eligible immigrants to receive the benefits of temporary status they should meet a set of requirements that have aptitude in mind. Eligible immigrants should either be enrolled in a higher education institution or in the military in order to contribute to society and the economy. A skeptic might claim that these immigrants would simply benefit from the United States’ programs without returning anything of value, but this is not the case. Often foreign nationals enter the United States to go to school and once they complete their courses they find they are unable to extend their stay, unable to live and work in the United States or use their education in the country they received it. When immigrants are forced to return to their home countries the United States loses their valuable contribution. Many immigrants call the United States home and would much rather stay where they live their lives. And it would be beneficial to the United States to accept these people and use their skills as they would use the skills of any natural-born citizen.
So the United States can either deport these immigrants, the proceedings of which would cost an extraordinary amount of money and take many years, or they can be trained to be productive members of society and contribute to the admirable quilt of diversity that is the United States. A sensible person would choose the second option every time.