The issue of illegal immigration has forced the Obama Administration to act and hopefully help to stem the tide of ill-informed immigrants, especially minors who falsely believe their age will grant them amnesty. President Obama’s trademark win-win policy stance has failed to work. Ever since his election he has held seemingly contradictory positions on the issue. First, he is a proponent of increased border protections and has massively increased deportations. However he also supports programs such as the DREAM act and other “path-to-citizenship” programs that are designed to grant certain illegal immigrants American citizenship, assuming they fulfill certain requirements.
Both of these positions have now placed him in an extremely awkward position, both within his own party and with respect to the opposition. On the one hand, his strong deportation policies have proven to be extremely unpopular with the president’s Hispanic supporters, especially those who were born in a foreign country. Meanwhile his support of various “path to citizenship” programs for illegal immigrants currently residing within the country has done nothing but infuriate conservative elements.
Straddling complex and sticky issues is nothing new in politics. For example when during the 2004 president debates both John Kerry and George W. Bush were attempting to play both sides of the contentious abortion issue. The two men whose politics were nothing alike, ended up giving what was essentially the same answer. This tactic, coined “triangulation” was created and perfected by President Bill Clinton, who when asked about his stance on abortion, gave a similarly mystifying answer: “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare” he said.
Politicians are able to get away with these types of statements because they would never have to make a decision which would force them to stand on either side of the fence, to clarify why exactly rape or incest make abortion alright when normally (at least according to their own logic) the practice is morally wrong. No situation or crisis ever forced these past administrations to act on the issue of abortion with such force as illegal immigration has done to President Obama.
Unfortunately for the Obama Administration, fate has called his bluff. Now he is forced to deal with the immigration issue without anything resembling a stable coalition. To further complicate the issue, the immigrants now plaguing border patrol stations are no longer simply adults (who can be deported without much thought to their safety) but rather children.
These children are not necessarily trying to find a better life, they are trying to find their families or following the advice of their families back home who have been tricked by traffickers into believing that America gives out citizenship to children for free. Many have actually come with their family but upon discovery by border patrols were told to flee by the traffickers, who often repeat this falsehood in order to avoid incriminating themselves.
Still, despite these dire and tragic circumstances, Obama would not appear at the border with Rick Perry or even in a democratic border state like California for fear of inflaming left-leaning immigration groups which form a significant part of his base. On the other side, there are those for whom the issue has seemingly become so bad that they are willing to harass busloads of immigrants in order to protect their version of America. Fearing for their tenure, Congress has done almost nothing to aid the governors of all political hues who are dealing with the rise in child immigration.
Obama has so far responded by issuing a funding request to congress to resolve the child immigrant crisis. He has even agreed to meet with republican Rick Perry, whose requests for a meeting he had previously denied. As for the money, it is currently slated to be used for housing the illegal minors until they can be reunited with their families until a more constructive solution can be found. Hopefully, by meeting together with those national figures who are currently dealing with the immigration issue, the Obama Administration can lead (or force) the overly cautious legislative branch to act and create a solution that will not only pass but actually work.
Opinion By Andrew Waddell
News 10 ABC