Roxie Bacon, a former Obama Administration immigration official who has 40 years of experience in immigration law, knows what makes for an effective U.S. immigration system — and what doesn’t. She spent some time working in D.C. at the Department of Homeland Security and saw a lot of why the system doesn’t work. In a column in Arizona Attorney, Bacon blasts the Administration and Congress for their backward enforcement policies and lack of leadership on immigration reform. She highlights the consequences of these failures:
Legislative irresponsibility and the lack of executive leadership made people very cranky (see the 2010 midyear elections). The neglect in the field of immigration has been so acute that most who care about that hot topic have lost hope change could happen. “Si se puede” now looks more like “No me molesta.”
She also expresses “dismay at a Congress that too often refused to do any work at all and disappointment at an Administration that used all its energy on health care reform, however essential, while so many other crises, including immigration, needed leadership.” She cites several specific examples to underscore her diagnosis of “legislative irresponsibility and the lack of executive leadership,” most notably, in the DREAM Act debate. As Bacon notes:
These are not people who deliberately “broke the law”; they were brought here as infants and children. Punishing them is like jailing a one-year-old for not wearing a seatbelt…the only issue is whether we set them up for failure or maximize their contribution. Remarkably, we opted for failure.