Immigration debate rages on

Maggie Kelso, Staff Writer

When the conversation turns to immigration, there is no solution any politician or ordinary citizen can suggest that won’t be met with opposition. Some think we should station guards along our border every 20 feet and shoot anyone who comes near. Some seek to remind others that America is a nation built by immigrants for immigrants. As June came to a close, President Barack Obama swore that he would take executive action to reform the U.S. immigration policy and it is clear that, with 11 million illegal workers in the United States, reform is necessary.

Given the amount of undocumented workers in the country, outright deportation is not a viable action. The unfortunate fact that this change of policy has to fall to executive action by our nation’s president is a depressing reminder of the plight that our country’s government is in. Honoring this political reality, Obama announced on Sept. 6 that he would delay the executive action until after the midterm election. This decision has been met with intense incredulity from the GOP.

Republicans in Congress accuse him of playing politics, saying that he is only delaying because he is afraid action will cause Democrats to lose representation in the house during midterms. This assertion is essentially true. To declare executive action now would also force the issue of executive actions and the issue of immigration reform to become highly contentious topics among candidates for office.

Stepping back from this debacle, we must realize that there are deeper issues at work than when the implementation of executive actions will occur. Following Obama’s announcement, the majority of Americans who support immigration reform found themselves disheartened. With a Congress that refuses to move forward on any issue without red tape and pork barrel spending, it seems as though no action will be taken this year after all.

In retrospect, this long summer debate is really a continuation of an age-old debate. Irish Americans were fairly recently the persecuted immigrants, and now Latinos are filling the niche left by them. As much as I hate to admit, perhaps Jon Stewart was right in saying that “[w]e have always been a nation of immigrants who hate the newer immigrants.”

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