Obama's DREAM Act Light: Reaction

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Reaction from across the political spectrum on the Obama administration's new policy regarding young people who have entered the country without going through the proper immigration channels:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer calls it an "outrage":


It doesn’t take a cynic to recognize this action for what it is: blatant political pandering by a president desperate to shore up his political base. Likewise, it’s no coincidence all of this comes on the eve of a long- awaited decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Arizona’s ability to assist with the enforcement of immigration law via SB 1070. The American people are smarter than this.

I’ve been clear that our nation’s immigration system is as broken as our borders. Unfortunately, today’s piecemeal pronouncement is a dangerous distraction from both problems. I urge the President to finish Job One: Securing the border. Then – and only then – should the President pursue a solution for our immigration system by working with our elected members of Congress.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona:


The administration's decision today to stop deporting DREAM Act-eligible students is long overdue. This isn't amnesty. These kids are in our country through no fault of their own, many of which are accomplished students and have volunteered to serve our country in the military or within local communities. I hope today's announcement serves as a building block toward the day when we finally put the politics aside, solve the problem and reform a broken immigration system.

Congressman-elect Ron Barber:


The federal government has failed to fix our broken immigration system or secure the border effectively. We in Arizona have paid a heavy price for these failures.

In the face of Washington gridlock, I support the decision to allow those young people who serve in the military or have been educated and have no criminal record to get work permits – a bipartisan step that was called for by Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican. Let me be clear: This plan is not amnesty and I do not support amnesty.

I also support the DREAM Act, which may apply to some of the same individuals. Young people who came to this country as children through no fault of their own should be allowed to earn citizenship by serving our nation in our armed forces or going to college. Those who put their lives on the line protecting our country have earned a path to citizenship.

Immigration enforcement should focus first and foremost on deporting dangerous criminals.


Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin:

If being in the U.S. illegally means you are violating federal law, what person residing here illegally could possibly be eligible for this work permit? Mr. President, secure the border first! I can assure you that in Arizona, despite assurances made by Secretary Napolitano, the border is not ‘more secure than ever’ nor is the private sector ‘doing just fine’ as you stated recently. Your solution is to maintain the rampant inroads that the drug and human trafficking trades have made in Arizona.

“This amnesty order is just one more example of duly elected members of the U.S. Congress, whom the American people chose to represent them, being circumvented to satisfy the political whims of this struggling administration seeking to pander to the Hispanic Community in an election year. Through this executive order, President Obama has denied the American people the transparency he promised as a candidate.

Somos Republicans:

Somos Republicans would like to thank President Barack Obama for showing a Christian compassionate view toward our DREAM Act children. This is a stepping stone in the right direction and towards legal immigration reform. We have always supported the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act since it was first introduced in 2001 by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and had broad bipartisan support. New tax payers must be supported without burdening existing American tax payers with more tax increases. Immigrants already contribute to the tax payer system via sales, tire taxes, liquor and tobacco taxes, and etc.

New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait:


It’s a major policy reform in the face of political gridlock. It’s also a dramatic political gambit. Turnout among Latinos and other non-white voters is one of the major variables of the election. Polls show that Obama is doing at least as well among non-white voters as he did four years ago. If non-white voters turn out at the same rate that they did in 2008, Romney would need to win white voters by massive margins — specifically, he would need to win them at the same rate Ronald Reagan did in his 1984 landslide reelection. That’s not impossible, but it would be extremely hard to pull off.

For Obama to get that kind of turnout, he needs to fight against Romney’s argument that the failure of the DREAM Act is his fault. His unilateral action will help, primarily, by actually improving the conditions of people who had been living in fear of deportation. (Though keep in mind: None of them can vote, since they’re all by definition non-citizens.) It will also create a broad (and accurate) sense that Obama cares about and wants to help the immigrant community. And to whatever extent Romney and the Republicans attack him for it, it will further help draw clear lines between the parties, eroding Romney’s efforts to blame Obama for Republican opposition. Of course, it also comes with the risk of alienating voters who want to crack down on illegal immigration, though in all likelihood there aren’t all that many persuadable voters he could lose on the issue.

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