The mass media is lying about Obama’s immigration plan
“Obama’s Plan Legalizes Millions!”… “Obama’s Executive Action will Legalize up to 5 Million,” “Obama’s Plan to Legalize Millions is Unconstitutional”…
As an immigration consultant, these headlines (and the debate that follows) makes my blood boil. Why? Because the headlines are wrong, they are lies. The rightwing conservatives (Republicans) are lying as usual to the people in the United States.
These headlines, these sound bites, printed and repeated across the media spectrum (TV and radio) over the last few days are not only plain wrong, they are a distortion of the truth (something what the Republicans do on a regular basis); they misinform and bring false hope to the population that the plan will actually benefit.
As with the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before it, I will spend hours talking with clients and trying to re-inform and re-educate about what the President’s new plan actually is, what benefits the plan actually provides, and most importantly, what it is not.
This will be my spiel – “I know that you have probably heard that this plan makes you legal in the United States. But that is not correct, it is plain and simple not true. This program does not give you a green card (lawful permanent residence), it does not give you U.S. citizenship, it does not give you a path or way to receive a green card or U.S. citizenship. In fact, this program does not provide any legal ‘status’ at all.”
“What this benefit is, is an agreement between you and the U.S. government. You agree to come forward and let the government know you are here, and, if you are eligible for the program, the government agrees not to take any action to deport you for a period of three years. During this three-year period, you will have permission to work in the United States.”
“You cannot travel outside of the United States on this program and then return to this country. You cannot file a separate petition for your spouse or your parents using this benefit. You must pass a criminal background check to be eligible for this benefit. If you have any serious crimes on your record – a DUI, a serious drug offense, a domestic violence offense, theft, and many other crimes, you will be ineligible for any relief under this plan.”
“Can this benefit be taken away, you ask? Yes, yes it can. It could be taken away at any time.”
This plan provides a very significant benefit to the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, it grants them a reprieve from the threat of deportation for three years, permission to work during this reprieve, and in most states will render them eligible for a driver’s license so that they can drive without fear of being pulled over and potentially placed in deportation proceedings. This is most certainly a significant change for this population, and a very positive one at that.
But it is not legalization. Not even close.
The way the immigration laws have developed over the past 50 years has left us with an unworkable morass of laws that interact with each other in extremely complicated ways. We all understand that the immigration system is broken. The complexity of these laws does not obviate the media’s responsibility to get it right and characterize these benefits accurately.
Obama’s plan does not legalize millions. Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) does not legalize a single individual. It will give a temporary, and potentially fleeting benefit to a group of people that have lived in our country, worked in our country, contributed to our economy, and parented our citizen and resident children.
Obama’s time in office is limited. What happens to Obama’s Executive Orders when he is not anymore in office? A new president can rescind Obama’s Executive Actions at any time. Should a republican president be voted into office it is nearly guaranteed that this president will rescind Obama’s Executive Orders. What happens to the people who have benefitted from Obama’s Executive Orders? One very believable scenario is, that now that all these people are registered with the government, the government knows where they live and work, that these people are picked up and deported. The Republicans and those morons from the Tea Party cannot wait to kick all these people out of the country. It is really not that far fetched.
A few years ago something similar happened. Indonesia is a country where the Islam is the predominant religion. Protestantism and Catholicism is the minority. Because the Muslims put pressure on the Christians (you could say the Christians are persecuted by the Muslims) a lot of Christians from Indonesia came to the United States looking for a safe place to live. The problem is that most of them stayed “illegally” in the United States. Sometimes after 9/11 the U.S. government devised an evil-genius plan to get rid of these people. The plan was actually simple. Most of these illegals from Indonesia were devout Christians, which means they are very simple minded and uneducated morons. With the help of a catholic priest the U.S. government spread the word that in order to avoid to be labeled as a Muslim terrorist all “good” Christian Indonesians should register with the U.S. government in order to avoid prosecution as a Muslim terrorist. Don’t forget it is the time right after 9/11. And guess what. Those stupid Christian imbeciles (= people with moderate to severe intellectual disability) followed the call of this priest and registered with the U.S. government. Now they all felt better, being recognized as “good” Christians, having nothing to do with the Muslims. Not long after that the U.S. government started to pick up these idiots and deported them to Indonesia.
What should someone do who could benefit from Obama’s Executive Orders? This question is nearly impossible to answer when looking at the whole picture. My advice: Be smart about it. Apply for these Executive Orders. Reap in their benefits, but don’t trust the United States government. These benefits can be taken away at any time. While you have these benefits like a Social Security Number, a driver’s license and a work permit, work on a plan “B”. This plan “B” can be anything. Find the love of your life, marry him or her. When he or she is a United States citizen that puts you in a much better position not to be deported after Obama’s Executive Orders are rescinded. You still cannot get a green card in a marriage to a USC when you entered this country illegally, without inspection but maybe you can file for a waiver of inadmissibility. Another form of plan “B” can be that you go to college in the United States. Get a good education while you are here. In case of a deportation you will have excellent job opportunities in the country where you were born. Depending on your personal situation there might be so many other plan “B’s”. Just don’t stop with applying for those benefits from Obama’s Executive Orders. Don’t be lazy. Don’t hope that everything will turn out good. Don’t just sit on your couch. You have to take action. Do something. When Obama’s Executive Orders are rescinded you might not get deported [immediately]. But your work permit and your driver’s license will expire. You will be back where you started. An illegal without any papers. No job and no future. Organize yourself with other people in the same situation. Demonstrate in the streets. Point your situation out to people who can vote. Ask them to support politicians who are in favor of immigrants. I know that all sounds pretty lame. I don’t have all the answers. When you depend on Obama’s Executive Orders you are pretty much fucked. So, do something, anything.
Comments or questions are welcome.