Last night’s announcement that President Obama would take executive action to “fix” the immigration problem in our country garnered attention not just because of the controversial topic, but because he was acting unilaterally. Regardless of where you come down on immigration, this unilateral action is not popular among Americans.
An NBC/WSJ poll published before the President’s speech showed that nearly half of Americans (48%) did not approve of Obama’s approach, just 38% approved and 14% were undecided.
The majority of those opposed have large concerns about the manner in which Obama is wielding his power; however, there are some immigrants who also oppose Obama’s program. Colorado resident Helen Raleigh, author of Confucius Never Said, was a legal immigrant from China. It took her 17 years to get citizenship. Here’s what a reader sent us from her Facebook page about Obama’s proposal:
“I am one of the 30 million legal immigrants in the U.S. I immigrated from China. As someone who ran away from tyranny, I will never deny anyone else’s right to life and pursuing happiness. But there is a right way to do it and the wrong way to do it. It took me 17 long years to become a proud U.S. citizen. My journey is not an outlier. There are many legal immigrants who have waited patiently for decades more, following the laws, and spending thousands of dollars to navigate a very complex and yes, broken immigration system. What the president announced tonight was a slap on the face for all of us, 30 million legal immigrants. He was basically saying abiding by law is optional in America. There is no reward to follow the law and there is no punishment for breaking the law. Does might makes it right? Going down this path, America will never fix its illegal immigration problem.”
Raleigh’s note is a far cry from Gov. Hickenlooper’s bizarre and out-of-touch statement that young immigrants don’t want a path to citizenship.
Nonetheless, her sentiment has nothing to do with who immigrants are, but a basic sense of fairness. Agree or disagree, the debate that would be required for a bill to go through the legislative process would offer people like Helen Raleigh an opportunity to be heard. Obama’s unilateral action takes away Helen Raleigh’s voice. Obama may complain about how slow it moves or that he doesn’t always get his way, but the truth is community input is a big reason the legislative process works.