On Thursday, November 20, President Obama offered an official statement clarifying allusions made to radical immigration reform over the past two weeks. In a decision to bypass Congress and take executive action, Obama imposed sweeping immigration reform that will grant an estimated 4.7 million illegal immigrants protection from deportation. Aside from the debate over the constitutionality of his actions and his overruling of the GOP, pundits have discussed the economic, legal, and political ramifications should Obama’s plan take physical shape. As with most issues, there has been little discussion about the influence this legislation will have on the American youth. While many have taken to regarding immigration as an issue of pure humanity, something vital has been overlooked. Humanity to one is not humanity to another. In enacting a seemingly universal act of humanity, Obama’s reform may have drastically inhumane ramifications.
Obama’s proposed immigration reform plans to grant an estimated 4.7 million undocumented immigrants, who have lived in the US for five years or more, the opportunity to apply for a program that protects them from deportation and allows them to legally work. In addition to this, Obama seeks to eliminate the age restriction placed upon the category of “Dreamers,” (immigrants who came to the US as children) greatly expanding the number of immigrants that qualify.
In theory, it is easy to believe that such legislation will leave those unaddressed by the plan unaffected. This is not the case. Is it recommended for families on welfare to foster children in their homes? However charitable it is, it is not conceivably wise. If one is lacking the resources necessary to support their own families how can they be expected to support others? This idea resonates clearly in the current American system. The job market is scarce, unemployment is high, and the number of those dependent upon welfare and government aid is staggering. Now imagine adopting an additional 4.7 million people into this system to compete for the same resources that are already stretched thin. Is that humane?
Is it humane to overburden a system and punish the people who are here legally? To take government funding and jobs from Americans whether born on this soil or legally immigrated? It is no longer an issue of pure humanity when it means rewarding those who have essentially broken the law and starving those who have paid their dues.
In an ideal world, America could seamlessly absorb all the needy that wash upon her shores or drive across her borders concealed in the trunks of rusty suburbans. This is not the case. Additionally, what does this new policy say to those who have yet to immigrate and desire to do so? “Don’t follow the legal course of action, come illegally and we’ll forgive you.” Without a secure border, the influx of immigrants will only continue resulting in increasingly inhumane conditions for those who are rightful Americans.
The American youth is quick to view all issues through a sympathetic lens. It is often easy to claim the “moral” choice, but morality is often subjective. What may appear moral from one perspective is greatly immoral from another. It is important for a moment to set aside humanity, morality, and emotion and look at the situation from a stance of practicality. 4.7 million more people legally occupying American soil means less jobs and more government expenses. It means the demand for more government programs and more low income housing at the expense of taxpayers. It means an insurmountable amount of debt for the youth to inherit.
We are that youth, and this is our inheritance. While the Obama administration may choose to adopt 4.7 million immigrants into this welfare state it is the subsequent generations that will support them at the expense of those who were here first and here legally. Where is the humanity?