OPED: Immigrants can't get a break
While Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump fantasizes about creating a deportation force and building a huge border wall, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a court injunction against President Barack Obama's 2014 executive order on immigration.
Through this order, Obama aimed to temporarily shield an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Twenty-six Republican-led states found a conservative friend in U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, who issued the injunction the Fifth Circuit has now upheld. This leaves the Obama administration with no other option but to seek justice from the U.S. Supreme Court.
While the Republican governors argue that Obama's executive order disregarded administrative review procedures and superseded Congress, it only offered temporary and limited relief from deportation for less than half of the undocumented immigrants in this country. Unlike President Reagan's Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided more than 3 million undocumented immigrants with citizenship, Obama did not guarantee a similar pathway to those who live and work in the shadows.
If the Supreme Court reverses the Fifth Circuit ruling, millions of undocumented immigrants could finally receive much-needed, temporary relief from deportation.
This is not just a legal issue, however, but also a political one. Republicans, appealing to mostly anxious white voters, have made immigrant-bashing a staple of the current campaign season. They blame America's woes on Latino immigrants.
Latino immigrants, like the millions of Europeans who arrived in this country during the late 1800s and early 1900s, migrated to this country to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. Most individuals who come here don't abandon their communities and families and risk their lives to deal drugs, commit crimes and rape Americans, as Trump wants us to believe.
Instead, Latino immigrants, like most risk-taking immigrants from other parts of the world, represent honest, hard-working individuals with strong family values that the United States desperately needs. How will the economy grow, for instance, with so many baby boomers retiring? We should recognize the remarkable spirit of Latino immigrants, reward their hard work and shame those who scapegoat them for political gains.
Alvaro Huerta is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women's studies at California State Polytechnic University. Readers may write to the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org