“Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me,” said President Barack Obama on Tuesday. As we all know by now, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is happy to accommodate him, with a suit currently being made against Obama for what Boehner considers to be constitutional violation of the balance of powers. Now the president has added more fodder to that canon in an announcement that he’ll be dipping his pen into immigration reform this year as well.
“While I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act — and I hope their constituents will too — America cannot wait forever for them to act. And that’s why, today, I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” said Obama. He also addressed vexation from Republicans with his executive activities. “I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future,” said Obama.
It’s true that enacting comprehensive immigration reform has been a major struggle going on for years now; it’s an issue that has had both Republicans and Democrats frustrated, and one that won’t be dealt with this year according to Congressional indications. Republicans in Congress are calling for a step by step reform plan as opposed to attempting to pass a big bill, while hoping that elections may reshuffle the balance of power in the Senate. The increasing and highly concerning rush of underage illegal immigrants crossing the border has been highlighting the need for action as unprepared officials struggle to cope with the onslaught and the unique demands unaccompanied minors present.
Somewhere between 60,000 and 74,000 unaccompanied immigrants below the age of eighteen are expected to cross into the U.S. in 2014, according to the Obama administration and a recent report from the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Kids in Need of Defense. That’s only a consideration of the one group of illegal immigrants, and says nothing for the damage done to businesses, the economy, families, and potential scientific innovation that could benefit from skilled immigrants with a pathway to naturalization.