America’s illegal immigrants are back in the spotlight. US President Barack Obama played his trump card as he announced an immediate end to the deportation of hundreds and thousands of men in shadows who were on the verge of expulsion.
This move is likely to buoy his electoral credentials, as it has been a sensitive social mobility and security consideration issue. It is yet unclear whether the discretion will be exercised for cases pertaining to people of Hispanic and Mexican origin or it would be across-the-board. If Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is to be believed, then he has spelt out an approach that is case-by-case while exercising the said discretion, and hasn’t come to specify any particular nationality. But on the other hand Obama’s thrust seems to be textured in apartheid, as he focuses on the influx of Hispanics, and particularly the youngsters who had lived for more than five years in the United States.
The concession announced by the president is now going to be debated at length. The off-the-cuff reaction from Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, merely hints at the confusion in the GOP ranks that had always looked down upon the immigrants issue as a personalised prerogative. Yet, Romney couldn’t muster all those minimum words to call Obama’s move undesirable, rather he played to the gallery by objecting to making it an executive order and not taking it properly through the Congress as a legislative piece. This is where the catch comes, as Obama for long had been waiting for a move to make a point that many of his humble initiatives like the Medicaid and welfare bill, as well as the stimulus package, had been baking in the Congress for long — and thus politicised to the core.
The fact is that this initiative has come on the heels of legislations that Arizona and New Mexico had undertaken last year, and are now being contested in the court of law. Men in shadows have been a critical issue for the US, which happens to be a nation of immigrants. Irrespective of the fact that a mechanism and due legislations are there to address the issue, its fallout has been on the political side. The proposition was further compounded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, after which it has been a different America to deal with as far as illegal immigrants were concerned.
Obama is in need of re-strategising his move to ensure that all those folks for whom the US is their chosen home are acknowledged and legalised in all humility. A principled approach on humane discretion will come to broaden the mosaic of diversity. Khaleej Times
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