Obama's Executive Decision on Immigration and Why I Don't Really Care

By 21:06 , ,

I know, I know, I'm such a spoiled brat who tanks on US politics and immgration policy and spit in the dish I ate off of, and blahblahblah.

I've had a little bit of a busy week and haven't even seen much of my blog feed, nevermind read actual news. I think everyone deserves a break. I heard about the Executive Decision in passing and skimmed through a few headlines amongst the ones that were about the Ferguson trial (quite disgusted by that decision, btdubs). And while a few years ago I would ignore any and everything to read about every little detail and recount my opinions here, this time around, with an executive decision, I didn't care much and enjoyed my long weekend in São Paulo.

And now, after reading about it, I've seen that, well... It's been touted to be something much bigger than it actually is.

Why's that?

First off, here's who will be "protected" with the program -

image from vox.com

Very important "groups" of people are going to benefit from the program. But what exactly does this protection consist of?

Obama is promising certain classes of immigrants that they won't be deported for a three-year span of time. The program will also issue work permits that are valid for the same amount of time. And in most states, deferred action is also enough to make someone eligible for a driver's license. But as soon as the three years are up, if an immigrant hasn't applied for renewal, he or she is vulnerable to deportation again.
And that assumes that the administration — or a different presidential administration — doesn't stop accepting applications or renewals, killing the program slowly over three years — or eliminating it immediately. Source.
Which means... that once Obama is out, these privileges could be lost all together. And let's not forget that in order to actually obtain this sort of protection, with millions of people applying, and the USCIS not being a well funded program, it could take months, if not years for these people to obtain the protection in the first place. The good news though, at least for parents of American children, is that eventually, they'll be able to apply for permanent legal status. 

That also leads us all to believe that more of an actual program to ameliorate people's lives, it's a way to get the Latino vote in 2016. And Obama trying to protect his legacy. 

This is the largest effort to protect undocumented immigrants in the US since... forever! In numbers, at least. In percentage of undocumented immigrants, Bush senior implemented a program that offered a path to the same amount (about 40%) through the Family Fairness program. I remember this time and seeing some of my own family members becoming permanent residents. 

Obama is not legalizing immigrants. He's making it so that they can't be deported. He's also helping those who are married to Americans. His whole plan is very similar to Bush Sr's.  
This means they will now be less likely to be deported in the near future. 

Is it a step in the right direction? 

Yes, it is.

Is it also a band-aid on a cut that will leave a scar? 

Yes, it also is. In Portuguese, we call this a tapa buraco. Something to cover a hole of sorts. 

I think the US is still far far away from decent immigration reform that will benefit a majority of immigrants and Americans alike. This has to do with many factors - one is the fact that Republicans and Democrats are divided. The other is that there are so many undocumented immigrants in so many different situations that it makes it a little more difficult to find something to fit most's need. 

I guess the fact that it seems so underwhelming to me, is that it just looks like other things that have been tried before just to "do something, anything" about immigration. 

But with that being said. Cheers to Obama for finally putting his foot down and showing quem manda nessa porra. At least as much as he can, I guess. 

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