|Image courtesy of White House Flickr stream|
"Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life—studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class—only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak." - President Barack Obama, June 15th 2012.
President Obama issued an executive order to the Department of Homeland Security that will secure his place with the Hispanic demographic. In a struggling election year where Mitt Romney has recently outraised Obama for the first time in the race, it's a bold move for the President. The Romney campaign recently raised a total of $76.8m compared to Obama's $60m in May. The DREAM Act was initially part of President's 2008 campaign, and one of the promises he made before taking office. Since then, the United States has seen the deportation of over one million immigrants.
The President assured reporters that the move does not give an easy route to US citizenship and is by no means an easy way out, but does offer temporary security to children of illegal immigrants. It means that those who have been in the US for over five years, been educated by the American education system, serve in the military, or were brought to the country before they turned 16 are safe from deportation. The other criteria these people must face is that they must hold no criminal record. The act essentially provides peace of mind to those who were raised on American soil, without the daily fear of deportation. It means that the country will not deport those that are in the country through no fault of their own, as long as they meet the specified criteria. The order is a bold move on the President's part, but could quickly crumble under new leadership should Mr Obama lose the election.
This directive would allow the eligible to obtain work legally. However, the act will only be in effect for the next two years, and so will have to be passed by the next President. Clever move Team Obama, as Mitt Romney declined to comment when asked if he would support the act if he successfully takes election victory this November. Supporting the move and ticking the box to continue the act would not reflect well on Romney with his current supporters, given his reputation of a ideological flip flopper. Those pesky Republicans. This would persuade Hispanic voters- a demographic needed by Obama, to vote for the President's re-elect and would also show positive progress on immigration reform, an issue which has not had much growth during Obama's time in office.
President Obama announced the order during a speech made in the Rose Garden on Friday. The President was interrupted during his speech, and was asked why he would 'favour foreign workers over Americans?' President Obama told the reporter, 'This is the right thing to do for the American people.' And the right thing to do for the election campaign. Speaking of immigration, maybe Obama would like to give me teeny bit of help? I'd love a job in the White House - I could totally take Bo for a walk, I'm an excellent secret keeper.. I promise.
My reaction to this move can be summed in two words. Me gusta.