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Mr. President: Do the Right Thing

It’s a hot summer day in D.C., and both the House and Senate are in recess, having failed to agree over fewer laws than any previous Congress.  This recess sends the most important statement regarding foreign born humans migrating to the US: while the Senate wishes to welcome undocumented foreign born, with prudent restrictions, the House of Representatives suggests all undocumented foreign born be deported immediately. Some of America’s most notable foreign born include the owner of Warner Music  (Ukraine), Google’s co-founder (Russia), YouTube’s co-founders (Taiwan & Germany), Perry Ellis’ founder (Cuba), Intel’s co-founder (Hungary), Huffington Post’s founder (Greece), PepsiCo’s CEO (India), EBay’s founder (France), not to mention 10 members of the House, three Senators, and 10% of the Forbes USA 400. It’s highly likely at least one of these was at some time not properly documented or without lawful status in the US.

Senate Bill 744, passed June 27th by a vote of 68 for to 32 against (as many as 15 Republicans voted in favor) gives the President much of what he seeks.  The National Immigration Law Center writes about the bill, “At this historic juncture, the U.S. Senate has passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744), which, if enacted, would comprise the largest-scale overhaul of our immigration system in more than 25 years.”

House Resolution 5272?  The act suggests all Dreamers and other foreign born without proper documentation be deported immediately. Is this consistent with Emma Lazarus’ words on the Statue of Liberty?:

“…Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

While Mr. Boehner and his colleagues would like the US to become a gated community, this pristine vision neither sufficiently addresses the messy nature of human migration, nor upholds the US vision of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” for its people, and global peoples over whom we have control, which necessarily includes undocumented foreign born washed upon our shores.

President Barack Obama faces a tough decision: wait for Congress to agree on constructive legislation, which may never occur, or through his Constitution-authorized right to use Executive Orders, address the current situations in a lasting and thoughtful manner.

When remarking on the DREAM Act in June 2012, President Obama said, “It is the right thing to do for the American people … because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society.”

Mr. President: The right thing to do is to treat undocumented foreign born with respect, fairness, compassion, and open arms for those who in turn do the right thing, and to address the tide of foreign born seeking liberty through foreign policy.  Mr. President, show the world how it’s done.

 

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