'Compassionate' Measure Could Well Backfire
The Obama administration, by circumventing Congress, kicked off one of the most sweeping changes in immigration policy in decades.
On Wednesday, Aug. 16, thousands of illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and are less than 31 years of age packed government centers to apply for documentation that would allow them to legally remain and work in the United States for at least two years under a new federal initiative.
The Dream Act - which would have, under certain conditions, granted amnesty to illegal immigrants - was defeated in Congress twice. But this new policy, accomplished by bureaucratic fiat, is a lighter version of the Dream Act called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Those who meet all requirements will temporarily be free of the fear of deportation, as this policy will allow them to remain in the United States for at least two years.
They may apply for work permits, Social Security numbers and driver's licenses. It has been estimated that 1.7 million are eligible for the program.
This DACA policy has been promoted as a compassionate measure for children who, through no fault of their own, were brought into our country illegally. But it has produced both criticisms and concerns.
Two governors have already stated that they will not honor the new policy. And with many states facing fiscal problems, perhaps others will follow suit.
Gov. Jan Brewer has declared that Arizona won't confer driver's licenses and other state benefits to newly documented immigrants under DACA. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said, "Obama's DACA does not make successful applicants 'legal citizens,' meaning that they remain ineligible for state benefits like drivers' licenses and other services.
At a time when thousands of citizens are unemployed, does it make sense to increase the number of those seeking employment by granting work permits to illegal immigrants ?
(The national average of unemployment has remained at 8 percent for four months. North Carolina's unemployment rate is now 9.6 percent, which ties North Carolina with South Carolina for the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the United States.)
Another area of concern is endangering the integrity of our election process.
If illegal immigrants are able to acquire Social Security numbers and driver's licenses, they will be in possession of legal IDs. That could very well facilitate illegal voter registration and illegal voting. It is interesting to note that the extension against deportation of these "childhood arrivals" is for at least two years - conveniently past the November election.
And, have we so soon forgotten that many of the terrorists who were perpetrators of 9/11, our day of gloom and tragedy, held valid driver's licenses ?
Too many times, laws are enacted and policies adopted that seemingly solve pressing problems but, in reality, have ripple effects that create bigger problems later on.
The probable and possible dangerous implications of DACA frighten me, and that brings to mind something Thomas Jefferson said, as quoted by a recent letter writer to The Pilot:
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Norma Cappelletti, a former Connecticut state representative, lives in Pinehurst.
More like this story