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President Obama All Action, Congress All Talk on Immigration Reform

Like Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, President Barack Obama is using his executive authority to tackle immigration problems. Specifically, President Obama announced last night that he is inviting more than four million illegal immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law." Here's the deal, in the President's own words:

We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you [President Barack Obama, address to the nation, transcript posted by Washington Post, 2014.11.20].

Speaker John Boehner says the President is sabotaging efforts to pass legislative immigration reform, even though in his speech last night, the President explicitly invited Congress to pass a bill that would render his action unnecessary, and even though Speaker Boehner has had an effective, bipartisan immigration reform bill on his desk since June 2013. Speaker Boehner says the President is showing he can't be trusted to enforce the law, even though the Boehner Congress has given the President only enough funding to deport 400,000 out of the nation's 11,000,000 illegal immigrants, requiring the President to choose on which minority of illegal immigrants to enforce the law. The action the President announced last night allows law enforcement to focus on crooks and terrorists.

Someone in Rep. Kristi Noem's office types up a response saying that "'my way or the highway' negotiation won’t work." This from the office of a Congresswoman who supported shutting down the federal government and crashing the economy when the President wouldn't yield to GOP demands to repeal health care reform.

Rep. Noem claims that the President is defying the will of the people of South Dakota. On what basis Rep. Noem divines that popular will is unclear, since South Dakotans all seem content to enjoy the cheap produce and other labor made available by those millions of illegal immigrants and unwilling to crack down on the businesses that exploit those workers.

Rep. Noem mentions something about the President's being unconstitutional, but she has yet to enunciate the legal grounds on which she would prosecute the President... probably because there are none:

...[T]he president’s discretion to enforce the immigration laws has always been the cornerstone of a de facto guest-worker (or, if you want, caste) system from which most Americans have greatly benefited. That’s why Republicans’ claim that the president is shredding the Constitution sounds so odd to people knowledgeable about immigration law. He’s just doing what countless Congresses have wanted him to do, and have effectively forced him to do, so that Congress itself could avoid charges that it has created a two-tier system of citizenship where the bottom tier is allowed to stay in this country and work, but is not allowed to vote, to benefit from welfare programs, to travel freely, or to enjoy the full protection of workplace laws. Of course, you might say that the whole illegal immigration system, with its two-tier system of rights, violates the Constitution or at least constitutional values, but the fault for that lies with Congress, not with the president [Eric Posner, "Obama's Immigration Plan Is Perfectly Constitutional,", 2014.11.21].

The President is taking legal and practical action to solve problems. We can only wish Speaker Boehner and Rep. Noem were similarly committed to practical action for the good of the country.

Scripture tells us, we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. We were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forbearers were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come [President Barack Obama, 2014.11.20].

Related: Under President Obama, illegal immigration from Mexico has declined, but overall numbers of illegal immigrants in the country have remained relatively stable, dropping just a bit from 11.3 million in 2009 to 11.2 million in 2012.


  1. jerry 2014.11.21

    The Friday news fizzle from the house, they have sued Obama for Obamacare. We Americans are not serious about our position in the world and our stupidity is not going unobserved.

  2. gail 2014.11.21

    How many want to be US citizens? That should be the first question. The workers that used to come into Minnesota and South Dakota to work at the factory in Big Stone, brought their families, but when the run was over, they went back home.

  3. jerry 2014.11.21

    @ gail, If there is an immigration system that is not so antiquated, we could then see. Congress has been very dismal on this matter since about 1965 because the illegal immigrants are to valuable to the whole economic system we have. Without illegals, who would do the work under the table. Who would make the beds, clean the rooms, slaughter the cattle, pick the fruit and vegetables, the list goes on. As the corporate bottom line is now basically flat, it is time to act.

    They live in very shabby conditions with many of the same lot, and when paid their meager wages, manage to be able to send money to their families in their home countries. Ag business depends on this and without it, the whole economy would have to indeed raise the minimum wage to offset the demand for better working conditions. Big business sees this as an economic tsunami to lift the profits of ailing bottom lines. It is simply good business for America.

  4. Amanda 2014.11.21

    Thought you would find this interesting. A German newspaper had the following headline: "Past Due, Courageous and Legal." It is roughly translated as:

    "The US President Obama's decision to grant temporary status to millions of illegal immigrants in the United States is the kind of decisive action that great Presidents are made of and will be remembered for
    The fact that Republicans are foaming at the mouth because of the action rather than its content is a direct reflection of their failed leadership"

  5. 96Tears 2014.11.21

    Obama just called their bluff. The Republicans have absolutely nothing to show for the last four years of obstructing American progress.

    At last. An American President has emerged.

  6. jerry 2014.11.21

    Exactly 96 tears, that is why it is so convenient that the republican house has chosen today to file their lawsuit against Obma and then hightail it out of town. There governance has been a complete failure and will continue to be for the next couple of years until we boot them out. I think this immigration may be the tipping point to knock the scales from voters eyes and wake them up to what an evil brand they have put in place with their stay at home voting trend.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.21

    Really good article, Amanda! I really need to study German.

    Along the lines of what the Germans and 96 are saying, I hope this is just the first instance of President Obama finally flexing his muscle during his last two years in the White House. We've seen nothing like the tyranny of which the Tea Party has accused him, and we won't, but we can hope we will see a President exercising his full authority to get things done for a country whose GOP-hamstrung Congress has sat on its hands since January 2011.

  8. Joelie Hicks 2014.11.21

    Two things occur to me. One, if a Republican President quoted scripture, I bet I would see a lot of screaming on this site. Two, I am sad that this seems to me to be a cynical move by a President who is beholden to wealthy corporate interests. The wealthy mainstream Republicans want cheap ag and industrial workers because they don't want to pay a fair wage and the wealthy Democrats want cheap labor for their homes and families. Both groups have an interest in a permanent underclass. This isn't about equality. My guess is the mainstream Republicans, for all their handwringing are not averse to this at all.

  9. 96Tears 2014.11.21

    Imagine if by some weird stroke the Republicans took the presidency tomorrow. Their agenda would be to tear down progress on:

    - Health care reform.
    - Civil rights for same sex citizens.
    - Women's reproductive rights.
    - Wall Street reforms and protections for middle class investors.
    - Keeping the 1 percent from getting even more tax cuts and benefits.
    - Federal support for local schools.
    - Social security solvency.
    - Clean water and clean air standards.
    - Minimization of military troops in the Middle East.
    - Immigration reform.
    - Voter civil rights protections.

    It would be as if Dr. Evil were allowed to become President.

  10. jerry 2014.11.21

    @Joelie Hicks, can you explain what you mean about cheap ag labor now that the binders are off in the immigration debate? I would agree with you before this, but cannot see how that would mean they would be able to keep paying slave wages for these important workers. Also, regarding the scriptures, they are what they are and to me, of little significance. I live my life each day with them as that is how I live without the amen corner. We all know what is right and what is wrong without being spoon fed sayings. President Obama is a devout Christian man, so why would this be so unusual? Remember, the Latinos are a very religious group, go to the grocery store sometime and see the religious devotion candles there as an example.

  11. o 2014.11.21

    This is the type of principled stance that could have saved Democrats at least some of their lost mid-term seats.

  12. Owen reitzel 2014.11.21

    Mainstream Republicans Joelie? MO such thing

  13. Owen reitzel 2014.11.21

    "No" I mean

  14. larry kurtz 2014.11.21

    Ms. Hicks is right on: Thune and Noem donors are scared spitless that workers with legal status will leave the crap dairy jobs to seek higher wages while the French beneficiary of Bendagate in Brookings might have to pay more or, Gaia forbid, unionize.

  15. bearcreekbat 2014.11.21

    jerry point is solid - Obama's deportation priority decision brings workers out in the open, so they will be able to pay taxes and received lawful compensation for their work.

    As for Kristi Noem, her position, while disappointing and irrational, cannot be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. My efforts to reach out to Noem have been met with talking point propaganda from her staff with little or no actual connection to the real world.

  16. Steve Sibson 2014.11.21

    "Rep. Noem mentions something about the President's being unconstitutional"

    "Obama's deportation priority decision brings workers out in the open, so they will be able to pay taxes

  17. Steve Sibson 2014.11.21

    "Rep. Noem mentions something about the President's being unconstitutional"

    The Constitution has been put to rest decades ago.

    "Obama's deportation priority decision brings workers out in the open, so they will be able to pay taxes"

    Don't these non-citizens need a Social Security number to do that?

  18. JeniW 2014.11.21

    If someone is in SD illegally, and they are purchasing anything with any money that they have earned, they are indeed paying taxes.

    When they pay any rent, they are paying property taxes.

    When they buy food, clothing, booze, a hamburger from Wendy's, buy personal care items, and etc. they are paying city and state sales taxes.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.21

    President Obama has repeatedly told the GOP that if they don't act, he will. The GOP has not wanted immigration for decades because it serves their financial future so well.

    President Obama has also drawn a line in the sand on how he will govern in the final two years of the presidency, he has put the GOP in a headlock and they don't know how to get out of it. The president has it made it clear that we have an ineffective do nothing congress, that should be the headline.
    If the president has taken this in your face action on immigration, maybe he will do the same and veto the Keystone XL when congress brings it up in January.

  20. GoJacksJC 2014.11.21

    Jeni, I think you have a point regarding other "taxes" migrant workers et al. pay, but the pragmatic argument centering on income tax is important for other reasons. For instance, the environment President Obama is attempting to foster could theoretically increase the number of prospective income tax payers because they would be more likely to secure ITINs if they did not feel they would be vilified and/or deported. Of course, some will ignore that they are paying taxes and not receiving most federal benefits and lambaste them anyway.

  21. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    Sounded to me like those who wish to be considered or deferred deportation will have to sign up for it in order to be truly exempt. At that time, they will get a work permit and have to pay into SS and Medicare, but will not be eligible to collect either, nor would they qualify for benefits under the ACA.

  22. mike from iowa 2014.11.21

    I don't know about you,Cory(me playing the devil's advocate) but at least one of them two people named in John T's blog sounds like a durned furriner and a Muslim one at that. Was I a member of the chumps in charge of congress,I'd be mighty suspicious of Thune and his hirelings. Reminds me of that Muslim Hussein Obama in the White House. (TIC)

  23. Bob Klein 2014.11.21

    Corey, I knew Qusi a long time ago. I think the wrong one is the Senator.

  24. leslie 2014.11.21

    hamstrung by GOP since Jan. 2009, rather, cory?

  25. Jana 2014.11.21

    Just so it's not lost in the "land of nuance"

    Ronald Reagan, Bush I and Bush II all signed executive orders expanding immigration from south of our border. (Still searching for GOP blow back on those orders...doesn't look hopeful)

    The Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that was sent to Kristi Noem and the House...they chose to not even go to conference with it.

    Kristi and John have said nothing about the bill from the Senate.

    To say that Kristi and John have been leading from behind on this issue would be aspirational on their part.

    If Kristi's staff would like to tell us why she hasn't pushed a conference committee on the bill out of the Senate...I'm sure the gang at MAdville would welcome her input and appreciate her taking time away from being a show pony and fund raising.

    I do understand that in John Thune's elevated role as a spokesmodel for the GOP that he has been too busy to bother himself with governing and pushing for a conference committee meeting.

    Or maybe it's like Bill F. points out so well...John and Kristi are for cheap labor to drive South Dakota wages even lower.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.21

    Leslie, we were able to get some things done during the first two years of the President's first term, like the Affordable Care Act. You make a reasonable point, though, that even then, pressure from Republicans and Blue Dog Dems kept us from doing as much as we should have.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.21

    Larry, Wonkette gets bonus points for the Yangs/Omega Glory reference. Tracy at Omega IV, his mind rent.

  28. Jana 2014.11.21

    Cory! The PPACA is just "some things?!?"

    Consider that every administration since Truman has attempted to reform health care so it works for citizens without success.

    Consider that Obama was smart enough to incorporate what is essentially RomneyCare and the foundation of the right Wing Heritage Foundation's model.

    Consider that on the day he was inaugurated that the GOP put party above the country and vowed to obstruct everything he did so they could take back power completely rejecting the will of the American citizens.

    Other than that...I suppose it's just some things...

  29. Jana 2014.11.21

    Someone please ask John, Kristi and Mike what their solution is! Are they in the wingnut camp that wants to deport them all? Ask them how much it would cost.

    When they say we have to secure our border, ask them how much that would cost and where will the get the money...from the farm bill?

    If they get behind the GOP radicals on immigration reform, ask them how it will help or hurt South Dakota.

    The first step in being a loyal opposition party is getting them on the record and denying them the comfort of spreading fear and pledging allegiance to platitudes.

  30. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    Not to be a downer on this, but the deal Obama is offering the immigrant parents of American children is relatively modest and even a little dangerous for them, especially those who have been "living in the shadows" for five years or more. In order for them to take advantage of his offer, they will have to completely expose themselves to Immigration and take their chances on Congress passing something before their time runs out. Not sure what the response will be, but I'm guessing nowhere near the 3 or 4 million they think might be eligible will actually come out, sign up and do the program. There's a lot of risk in it, and basically no place to hide if the deal goes south (so to speak). It's the best Obama can do, perhaps but nowhere near good enough. As mentioned above, an Immigration deal probably should have been done right away when Obama and the Dems were running the show. I'm guessing they wouldn't have seen nearly the backlash from the GOP that they have with the ACA. Then again, maybe that's why they didn't do it. Because they thought they could count on the GOP to do some of the heavy lifting.

  31. Jana 2014.11.21

    Bill's right. Saint Ronny Reagan's blanket amnesty was a much better deal.

  32. Jana 2014.11.21

    Just waiting for the GOP to be exposed for wanting to deny Dreamer status to the brave men and women who have served in the know...putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom and liberty while their kids were tucking their silver spoons in their front pocket to take a job with daddy or his friends.

  33. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    I could be wrong of course, but I don't think the Repubs will make a big deal of this. At least not right away. The business people know they need those workers. It depends on whether or not the workers make a move to empower themselves. Meanwhile, the campesinos are demonstrating in the streets of Mexico City. Que viva la huelga en general.

  34. Donald Pay 2014.11.21

    "...if a Republican President quoted scripture, I bet I would see a lot of screaming on this site."

    Actually, conservatives have gone off their nut because Obama quoted scripture. Why is that? Don't they like Jesus?

    I'm somewhere short of being a believer, but I and many liberals understand the role of faith in American history, and how important it has been in many battles fought against the forces of conservative evil. We never would have ended slavery or ended Jim Crow without a strong, mostly religious, movement to abolish these conservative evils. The same goes for labor law and many regulatory reforms that the Godless Ayn Randian acolytes in the Republican Party of today want to do away with. Much of the anti-war movement was and is propelled and sustained by religious folks.

    So, don't try to lecture liberals about religion. From Amos:

    “I can’t stand your religious meetings.
    I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
    I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
    your pretentious slogans and goals.
    I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
    your public relations and image making.
    I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
    When was the last time you sang to me?
    Do you know what I want?
    I want justice—oceans of it.
    I want fairness—rivers of it.
    That’s what I want. That’s all I want."

    Liberals may be sinners in a lot of ways, but we are wise enough to understand the good and throw out the bad, as in Amos. We know when you fake Christians just want to put on a show with your fake piety, your idol worship by taking the name of Jesus in vain by putting it on a snowplow. We would listen to Jesus. You conservatives would kill him.

  35. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.21

    Jana said, "To say that Kristi and John have been leading from behind on this issue would be aspirational on their part."


  36. Don Coyote 2014.11.22

    @Larry Kurtz: The Wonkette has sucked ever since founding editor Anna Marie Cox left it over 8 years ago. As per usual they muck up the story of Exodus since those that fled Egypt were consigned to wander the Wilderness and never got to enter the Promised Land unlike the illegal aliens (excuse me .... undocumented immigrants) entering the US.

    While citing Exodus 23:9, the Big O also conveniently forgot Exodus 23:3, "Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause" which essentially means one should not pervert justice in favor of the rich or the poor as justice must be balanced equally against the other. It is the case alone that is to be considered, not the person's situation.

  37. mike from iowa 2014.11.22

    Same old same old: Obama says something,anything-Wingnuts heads explode!

  38. larry kurtz 2014.11.22

    who in their right mind would post at 0200?

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    Time for the atheist to talk Scripture.

    Joelie, I don't scream when politicians cite Scripture. I will raise a fuss when they quote it wrong. Is President Obama getting Exodus wrong?

    The Wonkette post Larry provides brilliantly points out the factual hypocrisy of conservatives going ape when the President cites Scripture accurately in a way that undermines their arguments. Now they have to wage a prooftext war... "Don Coyote" feebly tries. Permit me to go all Old Testament on Don C.

    Let's all remember that this chunk of Exodus starts with God handing out the Ten Commandments, then getting into killing witches and sheep-lovers. Exodus 22:2 allows folks to kill thieves, but only at night. Mosaic law is a mixed bag; quote with caution.

    We can pile all sorts of "it also says" on DonC's head. Exodus 22:25 bans payday loan centers—"If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest." Exodus 23:10–11 tells us to leave our fields fallow every seven years to allow the poor and the wild animals to eat from them.

    Now to the heart of the argument: whenever some anonymous yokel says that such-and-such passage of the Bible "essentially means" something, get ready for exegesis pulled out of thin air. Let's look at the full section first, see if context helps (I offer NIV):

    23:1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

    2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.

    4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.

    6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

    8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

    9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

    So the passage our President cites refers to foreigners. The passage DonC cites refers to the poor. Apples and oranges. The President isn't talking about some sort of reverse means testing for illegal immigrants. He did not say, "If you're poor, I won't deport you." He's talking about leaving mostly law-abiding people alone and focusing the meager resources allotted to USCIS by Congress on catching the baddest guys.

    DonC's passage also talks about lawsuits. Who's getting sued here, Don?

    Seeing he's going to lose on Biblical grounds to an atheist, DonC will now screech something about THE LAW!!! the way middle-school bullies tattle when they see a chance to disrupt the lesson and harass the teacher and fellow students by citing some technical infraction of a minor classroom rule. If Congress thought the rule of law was important, they'd provide the President with the tools necessary to deport 11.2 million illegal aliens right now, and we'd all pony up to pay triple for our peaches and broccoli.

    But let's look at the law: who is harmed by violations of immigration law? Who is harmed when Paco hikes across the desert to shingle in Albuquerque or milk cows in Veblen? Paco doesn't cause housing bubbles. Paco doesn't cause recessions. Paco's too busy working to blow up the Murrah Building or the Twin Towers.

    We're not on a life raft. Supplies aren't limited. Our country can and does absorb 11.2 million illegal immigrants and keep on humming. If we're going to take Exodus 23 as a guide to modern immigration policy (and heck, the President opened the door, so let's walk right in), where's the harm, DonC, that compels the President to overlook the mandate of Exodus 23:9, which speaks directly to the issue at hand and the American experience, and adopt your uncontextual perversion of Exodus 23:3, which has nothing to do with immigration or with the criteria for the President's policy?

    If a band of exiles wandering in the desert can afford to be nice to foreigners, so can we. Our President, good Christian that he is, gets the Bible and immigration policy right.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    Or we could let Paul Krugman simplify things and recognize that we're talking about basic human decency. He says the "iron fist" world DonC craves would require creating a police state that no American should want. Instead, Krugman says, the President's policy offers innocent children and their parents some basic human security.

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    And Bill F. makes a very good point: we're not even talking amnesty. We're talking a grace period that hinges on the decency of one man. That one man happens to be the President of the United States, and he counts for something (yes, Jana, just as the PPACA is "some things" :-) ). But if Congress remembers that it has a function beyond partisan obstruction, if the President changes his mind, or if Hillary Clinton doesn't feel quite as generous on January 21, 2017, the illegal immigrants who accept the President's invitation may indeed be worse off than they were earlier this week.

    But I wonder, Bill: those 11.2 million people are gamblers. They left home and risked coming across the border. They've stayed and gambled every day. They gamble every time they show up for work, knowing they have no safe recourse against a jerk boss who could exploit their labor and refuse to pay. How many of the four-plus million affected by the President's offer will take a chance on this deal? Is it much more of a risk than the moving and identity shifting they deal with now?

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    The President's order doesn't go as far as the 1609 charter granted to the London Company to settle Virginia, which opened the door "to abide and inhabit there in the said Colony and Plantation all such and so many of our loving subjects, or any other strangers that will become our loving subjects, and live under our obedience, as shall willingly accompany them in the said voyage and Plantation."

  43. GoJacksJC 2014.11.22

    I'll begin by saying I have a very naïve (and probably juvenile) perspective concerning immigration. Cory, I would take it a step further and say that many of these men and women are more than gamblers -- they are confronted with situations where they, and sometimes their families, face cartel violence, poverty, and lack of opportunity. The perspective I adopt is to think, if I were in their shoes, and I saw a nation (in this case the U.S.) where my children could live safer lives and potentially have greater opportunities, I would take that gamble and emigrate in a heartbeat. Yes, even if that meant breaking the law.

    Then, I take it a step further and think, those are the very people I would be proud to have become new Americans. I admit that we need to be prudent, rather than as Pollyannaish as I am, and realize that we need to develop effective means to root out possible terrorists and other security risks, but I have faith that we can do so using our ingenuity and consideration of diverse perspectives.

  44. Bill Fleming 2014.11.22

    Well there's no question that those who qualify for the president's program are better off right now than they were last week, if for no other reason than that they are no longer on the 'most wanted' list. They can take the kids to school in the morning and expect to be able to pick them up in the afternoon.

    The hope they have and the gamble they are taking is called the American Dream. They believe in it. In other words, they believe in us. So much so they are risking their lives to have their children grow up among us. It's really hard for me to say there's anything wrong with that way of thinking.

    One final thought for Coyote. It would be a mistake to equate the words Law and Justice. The former doesn't necessarily lead to the latter.

  45. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    Well said, Bill. Justice is the ideal we seek. Laws are the imperfect means we craft and recraft to obtain justice.

    But why am I talking about ideals and Scripture? Let's talk dollars. President Obama's action "could boost labor income by $6.8 billion, helping to generate 160,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in additional tax revenues." Congress could obtain triple the economic impact by passing the Senate immigration reform bill, but if Congress is just going to sit around and do nothing, why should the President pass up a smaller economic boost? Heck, Congress could use that $2.5 billion in extra revenue to deport more of the illegal immigrants not covered by the President's order!

  46. jerry 2014.11.22

    I think that if the supporters of Immigration Reform would have banded together, lobbyists if you will, and approached the republican led house of representatives more pragmatically, all could have been solved. The tobacco lobby did this,
    with great success with the current speaker of the house, it is a proven tactic and one that could have moved this forward without President Obama doing that executive order thingy.

  47. bearcreekbat 2014.11.22

    Nice rant in response to Don Coyote Cory!

    I recall a story about Professor Marion Smyser, a former railroad lawyer turned long time law school teacher at USD Law School. In the 70's a student in his civil procedure class argued that a particular court decision was "unjust." Smyser did not defend the decision, rather, he told the student to leave the classroom and look at the name engraved at the top of the entrance to the law school, and then come back and report to the class what the engraving said. The student returned and reported the engraving as "School of Law." Smyser then asked if the student saw any language about "justice" anywhere near the engraving, and the answer was no. Symser had no further comment.

  48. bearcreekbat 2014.11.22

    Painful as it was, I wanted to hear some of Fox news reaction to the President's action. One commentator this morning was extremely worried that if allowed to come out of the shadows, immigrant workers might better themselves and start competing for good jobs, instead of doing only the work no one else would do! Imagine that, the horror of another human being actually bettering himself.

    As an aside, I read on page A8 of Saturday's RC Journal in a small side note "In Brief" that the House Republican Committee investigating Fox's favorite fear mongering - Benghazi - has concluded "that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending in a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence that the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria." Funny, but I didn't see a word about these findings this morning on Fox.

  49. bearcreekbat 2014.11.22

    One last observation - those people who called immigrants "illegals" have overlooked a key point. The only reason the term "illegal" might apply is because the immigrant committed an illegal act. But think about it, every time anyone speeds one mile over the posted limit, they have committed an illegal act. Likewise with jaywalking, and thousands of other transgression we all commit every single day. Thus we are all "illegals" and using the term to describe another human being who has immigrated without doing the paperwork makes no more sense than using it to describe a jaywalker or speeder.

  50. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    Mike's link goes to a cartoon about the illegal immigrants whom we will celebrate this Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims.

    BCB, I have no compunction about using the term "illegal immigrants." It describes individuals who have violated the law by entering the country without following the proper legal procedure. It is as apt as calling speeders "illegal drivers." I won't sweat the term, because griping about the alternative term "undocumented workers" only gives "DonC" a false flag to wave to distract us from the fact that he's wrong on policy, economics, and Scripture.

  51. Tim 2014.11.22

    "Painful as it was, I wanted to hear some of Fox news reaction to the President's action. One commentator this morning was extremely worried that if allowed to come out of the shadows, immigrant workers might better themselves and start competing for good jobs, instead of doing only the work no one else would do! Imagine that, the horror of another human being actually bettering himself."
    BCB, sad thing is, Fox and a lot of conservatives look at poor Americans in the same way.

  52. JeniW 2014.11.22

    BCB and others, the best wording IMO, is "people who are here illegally." It recognizes that people are people, not their attribute.

    When describing people by an attribute first it is a form of dehumanizing them.

  53. mike from iowa 2014.11.22

    Chief Obie signed secret deal to keep troops fighting in Afghanistan. Wonder if any of them are "I As"?

  54. Tim 2014.11.22

    oops, wrong thread, sorry

  55. Taunia 2014.11.22

    I'm with BCB. We have labeled groups of people throughout time, usually with derogatory names (sorry kids at home):
    spook, sand nigger, chink, gook, wetback, haji, cracker, gringo, limey, and so on. You know each group labeled with each derogatory name.

    We all know which group is being referred to when "illegal immigrants" used. It isn't Canadians. "Illegal" is as bad a connotation as any on the list above. It invokes a fearful thought that then leads to anger. Button pushing.

    Labeling sucks.

  56. bearcreekbat 2014.11.22

    Cory, for awhile I thought "undocumented workers" was a much better term than illegal immigrant. Today, I question that term. As Taunia observes, labeling people tends to diminish their humanity. If we have to label immigrants who come here to work, how about something like "family caretakers" or "family protectors" or "heros."

    These folks are so much more than either "undocumented" or "workers." As others have observed, they are brave individuals seeking a better life for their children and families who are willing to risk everything to achieve that goal through honest hard work in a country that they believe stands for freedom and prosperity. To denigrate such individuals with cold negative labels seems wrong from every prospective.

  57. Bill Fleming 2014.11.22

    It should be noted that the law that makes these people 'illegal' came hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years after these folks' ancestors already lived on the land and before any of ours were ever here, especially in the Southwestern US. As Delores Huerta puts it, "We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us.'

  58. Jana 2014.11.22

    Given the South Dakota GOP's lust for cheap labor you would think that they would have started a "Dakota del Sur Raíces" program.

    Don Coyote...just a hint...but that's Spanish for "Dakota Roots."

    Wait a minute...where have I heard the term 'Coyote' used in talking about illegal immigration...makes you go hmmmmm.

  59. Bill Fleming 2014.11.22

    Yup, those were rough times. One of my favorite novels is set just shortly thereafter. Cormack McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian' shows us quite graphically just how brutal the American spirit can get. How ironic so many of us seem to be afraid of our southern neighbors. If anything, it should be the reverse.

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