Sunday, December 7, 2014

Be careful what you wish for

It hit me the other day that there's another way to look at President Obama's executive action on immigration and deportation. Part of the proposed policy is that certain categories of currently undocumented aliens would be eligible for "deferred action." That is, they could apply for permission to stay in this country temporarily. There would be a three-year period where those previously undocumented persons could come out of the woodwork, get legal jobs, pay taxes, and generally be productive members of society. During those 3 years they would be free from the threat of deportation. That's the positive spin.

On the other hand, the deferred action on deportation is not a permanent deferral -- it's a 3-year breathing space. So what's the point of it? Someone who is here illegally will have had a chance to briefly live without fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hauling him or her off to a deportation center, but what happens when the 3 years is up?  Does anyone seriously believe Congress will come up with a path to citizenship or a general amnesty any time in the next couple of years? What will people who apply for that deferred action have achieved?

Well, among other things, they'll have gotten their names on a list of people who are (were?) undocumented aliens. They'll have gone from living in the shadows and wondering if ICE knows who they are to having their names in a register and guaranteeing that la migra not only knows who they are but also has a photograph, a street address, cell phone number, names of various relatives, and everything else they'll need to track their mojado asses down and stick them on a bus to Neuvo Laredo or Mexicali the instant that 3-year grace period is up.

I wonder how many undocumented persons are having similar thoughts? Are they reading the information on the White House and Department of Homeland Security web sites and doing the happy dance? Or are they kind of pausing and thinking about arm bands and yellow stars? President Obama has already set a record for number of deportations annually compared to any previous administration. If I was here illegally, I'd be thinking long and hard about whether or not the short term gain of a deferred deportation is worth the long term risk of drawing attention to myself. It's going to be interesting to see how all this plays out over the next couple of years.

1 comment:

  1. Remember Mao's Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom" campaign? Anyone dumb enough to come out of the woodwork did not fare so well.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.