Our Borders Deserve Partisan Action, Mr. President


Hannah Loiacono

This summer, thousands of children flooded the United States’ southern borders, looking for escape and asylum from violence in their home nations. For a while, it seemed like politicians would have no choice but to address the ever-looming question of immigration. Immigration is usually a hot-button issue in elections, as Democrats try to attack a well-known GOP voting demographic soft point. As the races for the Midterm elections heated up, the flooding of underage children further ignited the immigration debate. President Obama pledged to deal with the issue. Obama has failed to inspire and unite Congress over immigration, instead putting off the issue until after the elections. Now, Obama is remarking that he will move forward with an Executive Action plan on Immigration. This move is irresponsible and transparent.

If the recent midterm elections reflected one thing, it is the public’s current displeasure with the President. Obama’s current approval rating is low, around 42 percent. Many of the headlines after the midterms pointed to Obama’s obliviousness to the public’s want and his unsuccessful bolster of Democratic candidates. The President does not seem to be listening to what the country wants. Instead, he seems persistent on advancing his own agenda. His recent statements on continued plans to move forward with Executive Action on immigration only add to this obliviousness.

On November 4, people voted for change. The GOP takeover surpassed expectations, sounding off a strong message of change. Now holding both the Senate and House of Representatives, the GOP leadership will get ready to work. Both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell emphasized a need for Washington to get back to work. Not even three weeks after the election, President Obama is choosing to sidestep Congress. This is not Washington getting down to business – this is just politics as usual. Not enough time has even passed for a real attempt at bipartisanship within the split government. Obama is turning a blind eye to the concerns of the citizens and leadership of the Congress. Instead, he will deal with immigration reform on his own, through executive action. 

This plan is irresponsible and the President’s motives are transparent. It is not news that the Democrats like to characterize the GOP as the “do nothing” party. Obama’s insistence on using executive actions totes this line. Instead of first attempting to work with Boehner and McConnell, Obama turned his back on the democratic process. Obama is binding the GOP’s hands by refusing to work together. Obama was elected on a message of hope. By saying he will go it alone on immigration reform, he is saying there is no hope, at least not in the way of bipartisan reform. 

President Obama should be wary. If his plan to get immigration reform through fails, minority voters could end up feeling isolated from the Democratic Party. The Obama Administration cannot afford to keep leaving promises unfulfilled. A failure here would be due to an ineptitude in bipartisan cooperation. In the aftermath, the President can be viewed as an obstructer, rather than the obstructed. None of these scenarios are positive for the President. Surely, the Obama Administration does not want to see the President’s polling numbers dip any lower. 

Where there is currently a political storm brewing, there could be a moment of brightness for both President Obama and the GOP. President Obama could still change his tone. He could back away from the executive order route, instead extending an olive branch to the GOP leadership to find a solution together. The Republican leadership should take this opportunity as well. Instead of sitting back and watching the President flounder, they could set their own plan. 

The American dream is something that should be alive for all. The issues at our borders are important and deserve the thought and diligence of all our elected officials, not just President Obama. This moment could be a real start for the GOP to work on their demographic issues, by putting forth sensible yet compassionate legislature. By no means is this out of the GOP’s reach. 

We are now far from the summer months that first saw an extreme increase in the number of undocumented children crossing our borders. While our country still faces challenges, the recent election brings hope of progress for the country. The President should meet Congress with an open invitation to work together. Unfortunately, President Obama’s message has been the opposite. 

Maybe, just maybe, Obama will be in the holiday spirit and give the country the gift of bipartisan action, instead of moving forward with his plan of executive action. It would be a gift that the entire nation could enjoy.