President Obama has been criticized by some supporters for a proclivity to procrastinate and over think possible actions to the point where when he finally acts it is often considered either too little or too late. He also has the unfortunate, for a President, habit of thinking out loud when he is considering action so he gets into the position of having to explain away statements made before an action is taken if those statements contradict his ultimate decisions. For example, when he professorially stated that the President did not have the authority to go further than his DACA immigration plan. And, now when has to explain that away because he recognized that in fact he did have the authority to do more; -- in fact he may have the authority to do more than he has now done.
President Obama is the only office holder in our country elected by all the American people casting a vote for the same position. As such he is the one charged with preserving our republic, and taking all necessary action to do so. If Thomas Jefferson hadn’t purchased territory from France without waiting for a constitutional amendment, as his congressional critics wanted, our nation might today not extend west of the Mississippi River. If Andrew Jackson had not met South Carolina’s attempts to nullify federal laws with firm adherence to use of force there might have been a Civil War in the 1830's - one that would have been won by the slave states and led to two nation's one slave and one free. If Abraham Lincoln had not exercised his power to combat secession (a power his predecessor as President denied) we might not be one nation today. If Theodore Roosevelt had not exercised his power to act as he did in Panama and Columbia (without a Senate ratified Treaty) there would have been no Panama Canal and a century of an America hemmed in by two oceans. If FDR had not exercised the power to close the banks for a few days upon his inauguration the entire bottom might have fallen through right then and there; instead America was able to begin the long climb back to economic health without the extremism of fascism or communism. And, if Harry Truman hadn’t used his executive pen to order the integration of the Armed Forces the transformation of this country into a color blind society might not have begun.
Now, President Obama exercising the same authority that others before him have (notably George H W Bush and Ronald Reagan) has dealt with the problem of millions of illegal immigrants now resident in America. He has both deported those who have no legal right to be here while now opening a way for those who have been here for years and contributed to this country to attain a legal status and when the Congress finally faces up to its responsibility a path to citizenship. I am one of those who would like to have seen him go further by including the parents of the DACA youngsters; in fact I would like to see him use his pardoning authority to pardon all those physically present in this country today from any form of prosecution for violation of immigration laws - a true total Amnesty.
Immigration has been a political issue in this country since the 1790's when the Federalists imposed a 14 year waiting period for obtaining citizenship because the then French and European immigrants were supporting the Jeffersonian Democrats. Like all matters involving our government it will continue to be a partisan issue.
President Barack Obama acted ! He has done what he and most Americans believe is the right thing to bring this huge undocumented population into the American body politic.
Let those who oppose his executive order do so on the merits of their arguments. Let them offer their alternative proposals. It is unfortunate that most of those who oppose this order do so because this President is black, or because this President is a liberal Democrat, because most of the immigrants affected are Latino.
My mother was born in Germany and came to this country at the age of six; my father’s ancestors arrived here in 1607. So depending how you view it I am either thirteenth generation American or first generation American. My father's ancestors built a great nation that opened its’ arms to my mother and her family in the 1920's. No one stopped those fearless immigrants of the seventeenth century and no one closed the door to my mother's family.
We have struggled every time a different people have found America a refuge and it has strengthened us and made us a great nation. President Obama has used his authority honed by Jefferson and Roosevelt to open that door again to those who found a way to get here. He is a President who expended his political capital to get health care for those who didn’t have it and personal security for immigrants who lived in the shadows of our society -- neither one a major voting bloc. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, when FDR authorized rural electrification and when LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act it wasn’t as a reward for those who voted for them nor with expectation that the beneficiaries might vote for them - it was because it was the Right Thing to Do.
President Barack Obama has joined those of our great Presidents who have Stood for American Values and Done the Right Thing.
21 November 2014