The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Obama moves to keep his promise to millions of immigrants

3 min read
By MONA OSMER "I am not going to give up this fight until it gets done,” President Barack Obama has incessantly vowed in regards to immigration reform.


“I am not going to give up this fight until it gets done,” President Barack Obama has incessantly vowed in regards to immigration reform.

The Washington Post reported that as of Monday Obama is planning to revoke the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants.

Already, the administration has granted temporary legal status and work permits to over 580,000 young undocumented immigrants, commonly known as DREAMers, through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program announced in 2012.

The problem with this plan though, I believe, is that revoking the threat of deportation does absolutely nothing for either political party.

Here lies the problem: the Obama Administration’s 2013 foreign aid budget request would have continued the recent downward trend in assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean. The Administration has requested some $1.7 billion for the region to be provided through the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

If Congress appropriates funding at the requested levels, Latin America and the Caribbean would receive nearly nine percent less assistance than the region received in 2012, and about 11 percent less than in 2011.

The proposed cuts are widespread, affecting nearly every foreign aid account. Colombia, Haiti and Mexico would see some of the largest absolute dollar declines, but would remain the top three regional recipients reports the Congressional Research Service.

As a university that has roots in two major organizations standing to aid the development and welfare of individuals, specifically those in Honduras, through Students Helping Honduras and La Ceiba, a student run micro finance organization, we are very much attune to the effects of immigration laws and the realities of the world around us.

If the U.S. were to increase the level of funding of foreign aid the international community, we would see large improvements. Domestic politics however are focused on smaller issues.

Republicans believe that they have a duty to protect those who pay taxes and deport those who do not, while Democrats believe that the U.S. has the responsibility of caring for those who have come to the U.S. on the prospect of the famous ‘American Dream.’

The uprooting of the immigration system to be revamped and reformed is indeed long overdue, but the problem is not going away unless economic stability is achieved in countries where the immigration stems from.

Obama’s flashy acts of abolishing the threat of deportation are blinding Americans from reality. Yes our country is flawed, and the system needs reform. Millions in the U.S. suffer from the faults of the immigration system. But have we focused on the fact that it stems from the instability of foreign countries?

Increasing foreign aid would potentially cure the seed from which our domestic immigration issues spur from.

The fact is that politics tend to overlook the future and focus on the present, on campaigns and votes. Its time to work toward ensuring international stability, developing infrastructure in failed states and therefore eradicating the need for immigration from places where poverty is unavoidable.

Politicians rarely link this two issues together. It is time to debate, simultaneously, the growing immigration issues and the inescapable fate of poverty that individuals face in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico which drive millions to flee to the U.S. for jobs that most individuals do not even want in the first place.

Saving millions from deportation will do nothing but further the ignorance of the bigger issue.

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