Immigration reform raises tension in the Capitol

By on November 24, 2014

By Nick Amon–

The immigration advocacy group United We Dream lurked around the capitol building Nov. 18, waiting for the opportunity to confront incoming Senate Majority Leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell in regards of his opposition towards President Barack Obama’s recent plans of executive action on the ever increasing issue of immigration here in the United States.

In the upcoming weeks, President Obama is expected to take executive action that would legally shelter up to five million undocumented illegal immigrants in the United States.  Illegal immigrants would be covered underneath this executive action for reasons ranging from being experienced and skilled with different means of technology, to having a child born in the country.  Obama’s executive action would allow these illegal immigrants to temporarily work in the U.S. until further notice.

Many Republicans in Washington are in dismay about this situation, and are prepared to fight the President’s plans until a resolution can be found. Some Republicans are also using this executive action of the President as possible political leverage they may be able to store as ammunition.  House Speaker John Boehner has even taken it to the extent of attempting to sue the President for possible overuse of executive powers.

Not only are the Republicans in Washington gearing up for battle, the Democrats are preparing as well. 

“[Obama] does have the legal authority to take actions to establish enforcement authorities,” said Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

What’s left to happen next seems to be nothing out of the ordinary.  White House officials are afraid the Republican’s standstill opposition will inevitably lead to another government shutdown.  A shutdown may be a bad alternative to compromise, but the funny thing about any compromise is that ordinarily both sides give and gain to a certain extent; a practice our nation’s political system isn’t accustomed to.

With midterm elections over and the Republican Party coming out on top, the amount of pressure on President Obama is unprecedented.  It seems as if he plans on swiftly enacting his executive powers in an effort to prove a point to the Republicans in Washington, or to overall blatantly bypass his opposition and follow through regardless.  Whether either of the previously mentioned motives are politically correct or not, the real people that suffer are the ordinary citizens.  The people who ride the median of normalcy are inevitably the ones all problems in Washington one way or another seem to trickle-down and affect. 

If a government shutdown were ever to happen again as it did in regards to Obamacare in the past, the effects can range from something as small as not being able to visit any national attractions such as zoos, parks and museums, to something as serious as an individual trying to get a loan to finance their house, which would all temporarily be unavailable to citizens as the big dogs in Washington duke it out.

“There is only one person who can protect our parents and members of our community, and that is President Obama.”  That’s what Lorella Praeli, the director of advocacy of United We Dream, had to say in regards to the political battlefield being constructed in Washington over this issue of immigration.  Obama has many supporters of his plans of executive action, many in which see him as the only true sign of a resolution regarding the topic. 

In retrospect, the ordinary citizen can often look and point out at times the specific circumstances in which our government has made ill-advised decisions.  These decisions in which the majority of the time originate and spawn from the seemingly everlasting state of gridlock within Washington.  It becomes frustrating to not only discuss political matters in our country anymore, but to even contemplate and decide whether or not to act on them as well.  Generations that stretch all the way back to the baby boomers embodied an attitude that seemed to somehow disintegrate in the past few decades, an attitude that no matter what political fog stood in their way, their voice would be heard.  As a nation that prides itself in being the poster child of equal opportunity and democracy, what direction are we the people supposed to turn to when our exemplified government of prosperity and greatness can’t even agree on an immigration policy that suits both parties?

About Olivia Krauth

Copy Editor at The Louisville Cardinal.

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