Deportation Relief to Millions
By Lauren Smith
President Obama finally provided relief for nearly five million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. In his address to the nation last month the President laid out a plan that received serious back lash from House Republicans. However for many families, students and entrepreneurs this new plan is a monumental step forward towards fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.
So here’s the plan, if you have not heard it already:
Undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for more the five years, have American-born children or are a student, or entrepreneurs will be able to apply to legally live in the United States for three years. To stay in the States, undocumented immigrants must agree to make themselves known the U.S. government, pass a background check and pay owed taxes. In his speech, President Obama made it clear that this deal does not apply for anyone who has recently entered the country illegally, or for those who plan to enter in the future. This deal also does not apply to criminals.
Although this announcement brings relief to over five million people living in the United States, President Obama has received some serious criticism from Congress. In fact, 17 states in the nation have filed lawsuits against the President, saying that his executive action toward immigration reform is unconstitutional. House Republicans also believe that this executive action was taken by the President in spite of Congress, As a result, members of the House are expected to approve legislation that will nullify the President’s actions in 2015.
Regardless of what critics say, every action the President has taken in regards to immigration reform is completely legal, according to an analysis from more than 100 immigration and legal scholars. While the House continues to argue about what the President can and cannot do as the head of the executive branch of the United States, one thing that I want to briefly celebrate is the overall action taken on the issue. Something is being done.
Obama’s plan is all about compromise; undocumented immigrants can now come from out from the shadows without fear of deportation for the next three years. However it is still important to note that this plan also requires a high level of trust from undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
The undocumented people whom have lived in this country for at least five years must now reveal themselves to the United States. Yes, the same people who lived, worked and struggled in fear in this country must now trust the same nation to keep them safe from deportation. Where does Obama expect this faith to come from in the Latino community? More importantly, who is to say that the people applying for Obama’s relief plan will not be deported after the three year time period is up? Taking a leap of faith right now is a lot to ask from the Latino community, especially when House Republicans are plotting to act against the President’s actions toward reform.
The question that a lot of undocumented immigrants now face is, what happens next? I can definitely understand those who hesitate to take advantage of Obama’s plan, while I can also understand those who cannot wait to take this deal. No matter what course of action undocumented immigrants choose to take this deal being offered is still not a path to U.S. citizenship. Clearly there is so more work to be done, Obama has only given us a Band-Aid to cover up a more serious problem, but in order to fully treat this broken immigration system we need our entire government to come together and make a decision about the issue at hand; not whether or not the President did the right thing.