4:00 PM CDT, June 15, 2012
President Obama's decision to halt the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought here as children is at best a rough and temporary remedy for a serious problem. I'm not entirely comfortable with the executive branch electing such broad non-enforcement of a valid law. I'd much rather see the law changed.
But the truly vital question in American politics today is whether you are fundamentally receptive to immigration or hostile to it. On that question, I'm on the same side as Obama. Republicans, increasingly, are not.
Conservatives often claim they are against illegal immigration, and opposed only to rewarding those who break the law. But the people who would gain from Obama's policy are people who didn't choose to break the law -- their arrival here was the decision of their parents. To deport them is not punishing the guity but victimizing the innocent.
The right often associates illegal immigrants with crime and violence, in the face of ample evidence to the contrary. But Obama -- like the sponsors of the Dream Act, which would offer these kids a path to citizenship -- includes only those who "do not present a risk to national security or public safety." The Dream Act would focus on youngsters who have finished high school, stayed out trouble with the law, and want to go to college or join the military.
Anti-immigration activists view these young people as a threat. Obama is right to see them as an asset.
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