OPINION – As Fox News entertainer Sean Hannity is so fond of saying, “What would Reagan do” in response to President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration?
He would be the first to rise and lead a standing ovation.
Reagan may have been a lot of things, may have garnered an undeserved reputation as the patron saint of the Republican Party, but he certainly was no racist, which is why he would have been the first in line to shake the president’s hand after he delivered his speech to the nation on Thursday night.
I don’t think he would have had kind words for Speaker of The House John Boehner or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have had major come-aparts in the aftermath of Obama’s speech, threatening lawsuits and promising to put a stranglehold on congressional action until the president sees the error of his ways on health care, immigration, and whatever else these malcontents can pull out of their dusty old hats to further gum up the wheels of government.
Reagan, you see, pushed through similar immigration legislation in 1986 that, for all intents and purposes, was a success. The bill’s only shortcoming was that in its original draft, it would have required stiff penalties in the way of heavy fines to employers who hired undocumented workers. That part was dropped as the bill made its way through Congress. Still, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act granted amnesty to any immigrant who had entered the country illegally before 1982. It resulted in about 3 million new U.S. citizens.
“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,” Reagan said at the time.
Obama’s action will prevent the deportation of undocumented parents whose children are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, as well as immigrants who came to America as children, and others with long-standing ties to the country. It will impact about 4 million people.
That is, if they decide to stay because, according to all of the latest research, undocumented immigrants are leaving the United States in record numbers.
The vast majority came to the U.S. seeking jobs with better wages. More than 95 percent found work, most of it hard labor at very low wages. Less than half (47 percent, according to a study funded by the group Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together, which conducted the study in collaboration with Southern Methodist University) found jobs that paid significantly more than what they earned in Mexico.
A number of them have given up and returned home because of a lack of work. But, that is not the overwhelming reason for the self-deportation. Most returned to Mexico because of personal reasons, primarily, because they miss the warmth of their families and their culture, which is vastly different than that of the U.S.
The numbers were supported by a study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, which found that the migration patterns have come to a virtual standstill. In the five-year period from 2005 to 2010, 1.4 million people migrated from Mexico to the United States, a significant drop from the 3 million who came to the U.S. during the five-year period from 1995 to 2000. About the same number – 1.4 million – moved back to Mexico from the United States from 2005 to 2010, a dramatic increase from the 670,000 that left the U.S. in the five-year period from 1995 to 2000.
The numbers are pretty clear, except for those still clinging to the far right by their tea party-stained fingernails: These workers will not commandeer all the good jobs and put U.S. workers out on the streets. Quite the contrary, actually. As they leave there will be an abundance of low-paying jobs that will go unfilled, which will mean that the cost of goods harvested by migrant workers will soar if and when U.S. laborers take to the fields to pick and sort our fruits and vegetables; the cost of service-related industries will skyrocket when the U.S. labor force finally takes on the jobs of maids and maintenance in our hotels and motels; and you’ll probably start mowing your own lawns, painting your own houses, pouring your own cement, and, in general, doing the work others performed for a pittance.
But, the histrionics don’t end there.
Boehner, McConnell, and their teammates are creating a firestorm around the president exercising his constitutional right to issue executive actions, a right, by the way, that he has used far less than most of his predecessors.
They are playing the Dumb Card, realizing that few will go beyond their angry, politically spun words to truly research and understand that a president has every legal right to issue executive actions, especially when faced with a do-nothing Congress. And, if there has ever been a do-nothing Congress, just wait and see what happens during these next two years as the Republicans stand ready to oppose every piece of legislation endorsed by the administration in an effort to win back the Oval Office.
I would hope somebody from the right would have the guts to stand up to this bullying tactic by the House and Senate leaders, that somebody would draw the proverbial line in the sand and realize that it is time to shove all this political nonsense to the side and get on with what is best for the nation.
But, I don’t see anybody with that sort of courage or statesmanship.
And, before you go off on that tangent of “both sides are the same … they’re both to blame,” you need to review some history and understand that, no, both sides are not the same, that the Democrats have been more willing to reach across the aisle and negotiate than their counterparts, or did you forget the tremendous struggle Obama had from within his own party over the Affordable Care Act, the funding battles with the Blue Dogs from the Democratic Party, or the numerous other fisticuffs that have broken out on the blue side of the aisle as they try to play nicely with Republicans?
Is Obama the end-all, be-all? The Muhammad Ali of U.S. presidents?
Nope, not even close, at least in my book because I am not a fan of moderate politicians.
But, he certainly deserves better than he is getting from either party or the public these days.
I mean gosh, the way they’re treating him you’d think his last name was Bush.
- Letter to the Editor: Obama’s immigration order is legalized slavery
- Utah elected officials respond to Obama’s executive action on immigration
- Congress urges Obama not to take executive action on Immigration Reform; Utah leaders hold roundtable
- Opinion: Stop illegal immigration
- Perspectives: Immigration woes are complicated by politics
- 27 GOP leaders call for immigration reform
- Illegal immigrant arrested for identity theft
- Immigration reform bill passes Senate; Lee nay, Hatch yea
- Honor student scholarship rescinded for noncitizen status; friends rally with fundraiser
- Hatch, Rubio unveil amendments to strengthen immigration bill – 2013
- Lee, other senators pen letter voicing concerns with immigration reform bill – 2013
- Utah mayors ask Utah senators to push immigration reform, Lee responds – 2013
- Hatch supports border security efforts, amendments to immigration bill – 2013
- Mike Lee introduces comprehensive immigration reform bills – 2013
- Perspectives: Is illegal immigration really destroying America? – 2012
- Supreme Court’s AZ immigration law ruling may provide defense for Utah’s law – 2012
- Immigration consultants required to register with the state – 2012
- Senators Lee, Schumer hope to boost demand for homes with new immigration reform bill – 2012
- Representative Brad Last Discusses Immigration, HB477 – 2012
- Hatch: Time to enforce illegal immigration laws – 2010
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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