The 2014 elections put both houses of Congress under Republican control.
In spite of this, President Barack Obama is using his executive power to ease the pathway to citizenship for the nearly 5 million immigrants who contribute to the U.S. economy.
Obama’s speech addressed illegal immigration and the effects that deportation has on children with undocumented parents.
He said, “I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers.”
“I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.”
“But today, our immigration system is broken — and everybody knows it.
“Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less.
“All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.”
“But today, our immigration system
is broken — and everybody knows it”
Until an immigration plan is established, the threat of deportation puts millions of children of undocumented immigrants at risk. The children struggle with cognitive, emotional and social problems because of the possibility of being separated from their parents.
The lack of clarity in the immigration policy weakens families and leads to inequality of children’s life chances. The differences in living conditions and disparate access to resources and social safety nets cause disruption. The disruption affects thinking and has long-term consequences for children of immigrants.
In turn, this puts children at risk by impeding their integration or ability to settle into local communities. The health, education and economic integration of those at-risk children also define the nation’s future.
Since this population is an obvious determinant of our future, it must be addressed now.
It was those observations and the lack of Republican support on a comprehensive immigration strategy that guided the Obama administration into action.
The number of children in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent is growing rapidly and is becoming a significant portion of the U.S. population. Understanding this dynamic, the future immigration policy will some day fall into the hands of people our leaders have failed and refused to consider.
More than half of the children of immigrants today come from Latin-American origin, and over 40 percent come from one country: Mexico.
Two other areas provide virtually all children of immigrants today. Asia, which includes China, makes up about 20 percent, and those of Caribbean origin contribute the balance.
By failing to address the undocumented and the immigration issue, the U.S. is casting a wide net of possible failure and negative result, for a huge portion of our future generations.
Political leaders must get real, and face the fact that past government policies have failed to address ever-growing numbers of undocumented immigrants living among us.