Last week, we noted that the real radical option on immigration policy would be for President Obama to do nothing. Today, two of the world’s leading news outlets make a similar case, editorializing in favor of the president taking executive action on immigration, as the status quo of our deeply broken immigration system is untenable.
New York Times (Editorial) “Mr. Obama, Your Move”: After describing why President Obama would be “well within his authority” to take broad executive action on immigration, the paper’s lead Sunday editorial notes:
If Mr. Obama acts, as he should, and the right wing explodes, it will be worth taking time to consider what Senator Jeff Sessions, Representative Steve King and their hard-core colleagues and allies would have Mr. Obama do. For them, the right number of unauthorized immigrants to welcome is zero; the right time is never. They would let the system rot in place, to maintain the fiction that the country can deport its way to lawfulness. Their dishonesty is repellent, as is their blindness to the lawless status quo, and to the cruelty of denying the hopes of millions whose labor is welcomed but whose humanity is not. Mr. Obama’s critics in Congress belong to a branch of government that has chosen to do nothing constructive about immigration — not even to resolve this summer’s crisis of migrant children at the border, which they looked at and punted on, before going on vacation. This is, after all, an election year. They have abandoned a difficult job to the care of Mr. Obama. They are in no position to complain when he does it.
The Economist, “The Threat to the Rule of Law”: Despite what the headline may cause you to guess, The Economist asserts its opinion that the “The threat to the rule of law here comes mainly from America’s unrealistic immigration policies” (and not President Obama taking executive action on immigration):
In essence, there are three kinds of costs to an enforcement-only immigration policy. One is money. Another is the mounting security restrictions of an identity-monitoring police state…The third is the cruelty which that state must inflict on the people it deports, who are overwhelmingly decent, ambitious, hard-working people striving for a better life for themselves and their children. Are the American people interested in paying that money, complying with that police state, or inflicting that level of cruelty on otherwise upstanding immigrants? Some right-wing Americans may be willing to do so, but most Americans have consistently shown they aren’t. Given all this, America’s 11.5m undocumented immigrants aren’t going anywhere. The Republican inability to articulate any coherent immigration policy other than ‘deport them all’ amounts to a preference for fantasy over reality, rather than engaging in the messy job of making policy for the real world. America’s tolerance of a situation where over 10m of its residents are living here illegally is indeed a threat to the rule of law, and Barack Obama would not be doing the rule of law a service by simply maintaining status-quo policies. The country needs to adjust its immigration policies to fit reality, and if we want that to happen through legislation, the Republicans who control the House need to start governing again.