Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned an equivalent degree, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.
Hmmm… work permit + permanent address = driver’s license => voter registration => non-citizens voting?
Nah, I must be misjudging.
The benefits to Obama are obvious: He undercuts Marco Rubio’s efforts to accomplish this, you know, via the democratic legislative process. And Obama also gets to score political points with a growing voting bloc — just in time for his re-election efforts.
But the real consequences have little to do with politics. As someone who opposed the Arizona law — and has supported Rubio’s DREAM ACT — I am convinced that America needs to have a serious national discussion about immigration reform. Short-circuiting the legislative process deprives us of that organic discussion. It also guarantees there will be no bipartisan consensus. Perhaps Rubio could have persuaded more conservatives to back common sense reforms? The water is now poisoned. Obama — for transparently political purposes — has made sure that conservatives and Republicans will feel slighted and kept out of the loop.
That’s because they have been.
The downside, of course, is that this does nothing to heal this nation, nothing to bring us together, and only serves as a short-term solution for immigrants when a long-term solution — one based on consensus, not political opportunism — was needed.