Those seem like conflicting ideologies to me. If the state is going to spend money to help educate these kids and treat them as if they were US citizens, doesn’t it make more sense to provide a pathway for them to get jobs and return the state’s investment? Instead of fixing the issue and helping immigrants, Texas managed to replace an old problem with a new one. Education but no job. That’s not problem solving, that’s the legislature going through the motions without thinking about all the issues. And this is just one example out of many of government trying to make small changes because officials weren’t willing to take the risk of making big ones.
With his announcement, President Obama took that risk and laid the groundwork for legislators to hopefully enact broader changes. He’s admitted this is only a stopgap measure for now, but at least he has taken a stand and shown that more sweeping changes are necessary for immigration reform. Without congressional support he can only stop certain deportations, he can’t provide amnesty or citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. But his decision makes sense. If we’re going to make getting an education and finding jobs easier, then it only makes sense that we should stop deporting people. Hopefully congress will follow his example and provide a pathway to citizenship for all these people who deserve it.
Some people might say that I’m asking for too much. That I’m unfairly judging other laws aimed at improving immigrants’ lives. Or that even small changes are better than nothing. Maybe we don’t need to tackle such a controversial issue as citizenship and amnesty for undocumented immigrants. But I think that would be shortsighted. Immigration is too big of an issue to try to change step by step. Incremental changes simply give people false hope that real change is happening. Or it allows politicians off the hook because they can point at some specific legislation and say “look we did that, we are helping immigrants” when really they’ve done essentially nothing. The goal of sustainable impact on immigration reform is close but we need to maintain support for the DREAM Act and President Obama’s new policy if we wish to reach it.