Obama’s ‘Stopgap’: Making Romney look weak or alienating voters?
On Friday, I was in a waiting room watching The Chew, when suddenly it was interrupted by a public service announcement and cut straight to Obama’s speech on the stopgap for undocumented youth in the US. Like most people, I was a bit surprised and curious what was the motive behind it in terms of the upcoming election. As the speech came to a close, the room was silent, but I could head people’s thoughts as loud as if they were shouting.
The polarizing stopgap is quite interesting. In some ways, all it is saying is that Homeland Security is going to turn its deportation focus away from undocumented peoples who have arrived as a child and have shown themselves not only to not be a threat to our country, but also to have proven to have had a positive impact on our country (either by fighting in the armed forces or attending college). Obama didn’t actually give anyone a Green Card, he just gave them short-term reprieve while the country focuses on other illegal immigrants. If you look on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, you’ll actually see no mention of this new policy, which is surprising, as it apparently affects up to 800,000 or more undocumented children.
The policy in many ways was a smart one. Romney is now in a bit of a difficult position. If he condemns the action, he will lose the Latino vote, which is currently the largest ethnic minority in the country. He also risks having the negative image of all those kids being deported at his hand, which could influence some moderate voters. On the other hand, if he doesn’t condemn the action, conservatives, particularly Tea Party members, will be furious. Don’t forget that Romney was the guy saying that he wanted to make life so horrible for illegals that they would “self deport.” Now, he finds himself on CBS’ Talk of the Nation, stating that the stopgap is only a short-term fix, but refusing to state if he would overturn it as president. This ambiguous stance has Romney looking weak, and for someone who wants to be the president of the United States that’s usually not a good sign.
At the same time, this polarizing policy has citizens all excited. You have many Americans who see this as a forced passage of the DREAM Act, giving all of these young people citizenship and encouraging illegals to send all of the young people in their families over because they will receive amnesty here. It is clear that that’s not what Obama stated, but what I’ve heard from conversations on the street, that is how it is being perceived. The major fear running through the spines of many Americans is the belief that these young people are stealing jobs at a time when unemployment is a serious problem.
On the other hand, you have a lot of images (particularly among social media sites) being circulated at this moment of high school and college graduates in cap and gown hosting sit-ins and statuses of undocumented youths (known as DREAMers) calling for the support of this policy and further action in Congress to follow through with the DREAM Act.
Overall, Obama’s policy puts Romney in a difficult position and corners him so that any decision he makes will alienate voters for him, and his current non-decision makes him look weak. However, Obama’s announcement has turned many Americans against him, as they support tough immigration policies and believe that illegal immigration is the root cause of high unemployment in the US. We’ll see if this policy helps Obama in his campaign as much as it helps these young undocumented peoples in the short term.
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