It finally happened. The excellent decision the Obama administration made to protect a group of young people from deportation is an act of justice that also has long-term economic benefits for the nation.
The president did the right thing: He took an important step to benefit these youths who are as American in their education and upbringing as die-hard Americans born here.
This opens the horizons, although limited to two years, for hundreds of thousands of young men and women who were being unfairly punished for their parents’ decision to bring them into our country undocumented. At the same time, the tranquility of living without the daily threat of deportation will let them progress in their ambitions, both academically and professionally.
It is true that this action, taken in the middle of a re-election year, is obviously politically charged-especially when a significant portion of the electorate who brought Obama to the White House is disappointed by his administration’s aggressive deportation policy. However, this electoral motivation by no means detracts from a wise act.
It is worth mentioning that expanding the “deferred deportation” policy of the Department of Homeland Security creates a more generous policy than the DREAM Act bills, although time-wise its scope is more limited.
Hopefully, this move by the White House will be able to advance the legislative debate in favor of the DREAM Act, so Congress creates a permanent legal framework to protect these young people.
But the first reaction of Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was not positive. He reviled Obama’s executive order, calling it an “amnesty” and saying it will contribute to the unemployment of Americans.
In this case, workers are not brought from abroad, so the current labor market basically remains the same. When a proposal to create jobs is based on deporting people, such as minors brought up in the U.S., as Smith has proposed, then there’s a problem.
The new policy still has to be implemented, and how it’s done is important. Nevertheless, this is a huge step that protects the investment the U.S. made in the education of these young people and lets them progress toward their goals.
Many young people have been courageously struggling to make their dreams come true. Yesterday, the deportation nightmare was set aside. Now it’s time for the dream to progress.