Immigration isn’t exactly an issue that puts people on the edge of their seat. It hasn’t been in the spotlight much in that past two years, giving us yet another reason to ignore its existence. Well, much like Britney Spears every three years, immigration is making a comeback. In the next few weeks, it’ll be taking the spotlight at a precarious time (think: Britney, circa 2009). Here are a few reasons why immigration is such a hot topic right now:
1. Have you heard? The Republicans are in the majority.
Once upon a time, before the midterm elections, Democrats were in the White House and held the majority in the Senate. (The Republicans had the House.) That all changed on November 4 and now 2/3s of the branches of government can push against immigration reform.
2. If there was ever a time to care, it’d be now.
For the past two years, very little has happened with immigration reform. The last time immigration was big news, it was because Obama had to tell Arizona that their crackdown was unconstitutional in 2010. Now (literally, this week) something big is expected to happen.
3. This plan could stop up to 5 million immigrants from getting deported
Obama wants to get working papers for the children of illegal immigrants, who were born in the United States to ensure they don’t get deported. (If your reaction is, “Excuse me, why don’t they have the papers already because they’re lawful citizens?” that makes you a Democrat.)
4. Executive Order FTW
Seeing as Obama has no other branch of government to back him, there’s a lot of talk about him using executive order to pass any sort of immigration reform. What does this mean exactly? The seventh grade social studies definition of an executive order is “an order with the force of law issued by the President of the United States.”
5. There’s a possibility for reducing our criminal population
Obama’s plan wants to prioritize who we’re deporting. His plan is to focus on deporting the criminal population of immigrants, as opposed to just any undocumented worker. (That is NOT meant to be read as “all criminals are immigrants,” because that’s untrue.)
6. The clock’s ticking
Obama has made it very clear that he wants something to happen before the end of this year. Just FYI, there are six weeks left in the year and two major holiday breaks. In political terms, that means something needs to happen ASAP.
7. Immigration touches more issues that we realize
Immigration policy doesn’t just affect our borders. It affects issues that hit much closer to home (healthcare and education, for example). A few questions that will come up alongside immigration are:
- Do you need to prove your immigration status to collect Obamacare?
- Can undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition?
- How will we ensure young immigrants speak English well enough to attend grade school?
- Should illegal immigrants be allowed to obtain driver’s licenses? (Oregon originally answered “yes,” but just voted to overrule that law on Nov. 4)
8. There’s nothing sexier than impeachment.
There are a few rumors that Republicans are threatening to impeach Obama if he moves forward with the executive order. Whether that’s an empty threat or not is irrelevant. It doesn’t need to have any truth to keep getting mentioned and all the GOP needs to do is say “Obama” and “impeachment” in the same breath, as often as possible. Impeachment sells almost as well as anything related to Monica Lewinsky.