NEW YORK — It might happen at any moment, maybe this very week, but until I began to write this column, they were only speculations, since the White House had not made an official announcement. I’m referring, of course, to President Obama’s apparent decision to finally act on immigration on his own, faced with the inaction of Congress.
It seems that, after all, Obama may have found the courage to do what he should have done a long time ago: bring relief to the legal situation of millions of undocumented immigrants. It is not clear how many will benefit, though there is talk of 5 million.
It is amusing that, ever since rumors began to circulate about Obama’s decision, the Republicans, rabid in their impotence, are having (as the Cubans say) a big collective tantrum.
If the President takes executive action, he’s “playing with fire, and when you play with fire, you get burned,” said the leader of Republican majority in the House, John Boehner, looking concerned.
Not that anybody will take him seriously, because, apart from the fact that Boehner’s inaction has forced Obama to act, no matter what he and his colleagues say, the President would be exercising a legitimate power used 39 times in the past 60 years by 11 of his predecessors including none others than George W. Bush and that eternally smiling deity of the conservative Olympus, Ronald Reagan.
According to what has been reported until today, Obama’s consists of 10 executive actions, although the main ones are designed to prevent the separation of families. The plan would allow the parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents to remain in the country, as well as the parents of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. in infancy.
These measures would protect more than 4.5 million people from deportation.
Also, the ill-called program Secure Communities, responsible for the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, would be eliminated.
“Let’s not forget that all this is only rumors so far, and that there’s nothing clear,” warned writer and member of the faculty of the Center for Latino Policy Research at U.C./Berkeley, Roberto Lovato. “It could be a trial balloon from the White House. The immigrants’ right groups need to keep their guard and their radar up.”
Nevertheless, Lovato thinks that “something” is going to happen before year’s end, although he cautions that a timid and ungenerous act by the president “would leave Latinos and the immigrant community unsatisfied.”
Lovato doesn’t believe that Obama will act — if he eventually does — moved by some heretofore unknown kindness but by the desperate need of Democrats to repair their relations with the Hispanic community before the presidential election of 2016. Without the Latino vote, the Democrats can bid goodbye to any hope of again occupying the White House.
“Latinos have distanced themselves from the Democratic Party because of Obama’s policy of deportation and his unfulfilled promises,” Lovato said. “Obama is trying to tell them that he wants them to win them over again.”
Works reflect love, Mr. President; good reasons don’t.