Rumors are swirling that President Barack Obama will use his executive authority to enact wide-scale amnesty to illegal immigrants, perhaps even by the summer’s end. This “threat” of amnesty may ultimately prove to be pure spin, but it’s important to recognize the best path forward for the president and the country.
Obama has said we’re a nation of immigrants, but we’re also a nation of laws — indicating he recognizes there’s a delicate balance to be struck.
Granting amnesty to several million illegal immigrants would certainly not strike any kind of sensible balance. That kind of action would be a horrendous use of authority.
Some in the media have reported that Obama could announce executive orders soon to give work permits to illegals, but it’s difficult to believe the White House has leaked that strategy or that there are that many insiders in the media.
Perhaps these rumblings of wide-scale amnesty are merely red meat being thrown to the far right, particularly with the 2014 midterms right around the corner. But what we need to know soon is whether Obama will be working to fast-track deportations, grant wide-scale amnesty or find a sensible middle ground.
Over the last year, the number of children crossing the border illegally has surged from 24,000 to 47,000. It’s hard to deny that some areas of the country, particularly at the border, haven’t been overwhelmed by the influx of unaccompanied children. More and more patrols have been sent to the border and the Pentagon has had to open several emergency shelters to keep up with the thousands of children pouring into the country.
Our country can’t idly sit by and let this continue to spiral out of control. Although every case is different, an effective solution would be to humanely send a majority of these children home in order to stem the proverbial tide. There are no easy decisions, but total inaction would perhaps be the most destructive way to handle it.
South Carolina clearly isn’t dealing with the same pressures that border states such as Texas are dealing with in this ongoing problem. In the first seven months of this year, 37,477 unaccompanied children have been placed with sponsors in states, and about 430 have come to South Carolina. States such as Texas and California are handling nearly 10,000 unaccompanied children, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Additionally, according to USC Aiken Political Science Professor Bob Botsch, it’s doubtful these children create be a huge public strain in South Carolina.
“There are a lot of myths regarding the amount of social services that illegal immigrants take in the social system,” Botsch said. “So even those who are legal have to be here x-number of years in order to qualify for food stamps and a lot of other things.”
However, the strain across the country is evident. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., noted in an interview with ABC recently that immigration is a “hard question to wrestle with,” and that the country should be “compassionate to people who you know are coming looking for a better way of life,” while at the same time, adhere to the law.
The best option would be for Scott, and other senators, to work with House members to pass comprehensive reform. But at this point, an immigration bill is seemingly too toxic for Congress and remains doomed.
It’s key to remember that executive orders aren’t some kind of magic loophole Obama created in a back room of the White House. In fact, out of the last 10 presidents, he’s signed the least amount of executive orders on average per year.
What’s now vital is that Obama find a sensible balance in his executive authority to curb the amount of illegals coming into the country and put measures in place to protect the border.
The do-nothing Congress sadly appears too inept and too gridlocked to pass any kind of common-sense immigration reform. It now falls to the executive to find a humane, yet just solution to this ever burgeoning problem.