Rob Horowitz: Obama’s Immigration Executive Order; Good Policy and Good Politics
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The Executive Order makes more so-called ‘dreamers’-immigrants who arrived here as children---not subject to deportation; enables parents who have lived in the United States with children who are citizens or lawful permanent residents to come out of the shadows as long as they pass a criminal background check pay taxes and register; streamlines the process for certain legal immigrants with the goal of enabling more highly skilled workers to more easily stay in the United States, and provides more resources for border security: and more heavily prioritizes deporting criminals. Obama’s order gives temporary deportation relief to nearly half of undocumented immigrants and will be in effect for at least the remaining 3 years of his Presidency.
Obama's Executive Order
Framing his actions as flowing from fundamental American values, President Obama said, “My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -– that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.
Because of the limitations of what Obama can do alone using prosecutorial discretion and other executive powers, these actions fall well short of what can be accomplished through comprehensive legislation. Still, the President’s order accomplishes much, including giving millions of undocumented immigrants the opportunity to come out of the shadows, preventing families from being torn apart, and providing an economic boost
The order is not only good policy; it is good politics. The steps contained in this Executive Order are broadly popular with the general public and further cement Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s commanding advantage with Latino voters who now comprise more than 10% of the Presidential year electorate.
Obama and Congress
Further, Obama did an effective job of using the bully pulpit to emphasize that his decision to move unilaterally was due to the fact the Republican House of Representatives had failed to act, pointing out that it had been more than 500 days since the Senate by an overwhelming majority had passed comprehensive immigration reform and there was still no forward movement in the House. As the President said at a follow-up event in Las Vegas the day after his speech, “I hear some people say, ‘Well, we’re in favor of immigration reform but we don’t think that it should be done without Congress.’ Well, Congress, go ahead and do it.”
As was reported over the weekend by The Hill and other publications, Republican Congressional leaders are realizing that they need to have a measured response. They are already beginning to back off their initial posture that unilateral action by President Obama on immigration would so poison the well that it would make it impossible for them to work with the President on any of the challenges facing the nation. Blaming Presidential action on immigration for policy gridlock is a recipe for doing even worse in 2016 with this key and growing segment of the electorate than the 27% of Latino voters that 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney garnered. So is rolling back any of the major provisions of the Order itself. And the smart strategists in the Republican Party know it.
As a result, President Obama’s Executive Order may actually have the opposite effect of what many pundits initially predicted and contribute to the breaking apart of gridlock, generating at least some Congressional action on this important issue.
Taken strictly on its own terms, this consequential Executive Order moves us closer to a sensible immigration policy, honoring our values and enabling the nation to realize more of the renewal, innovation and growth which throughout our history has always followed a more expansive, welcoming approach.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
Related Slideshow: RI Politicians Who Sought Redemption from Misdeeds
Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
As one of the longest-serving "big city" mayors in United States history, Rhode Island has experienced Cianci's ups and downs for over 21 years.
Now twice-convicted Cianci is once again back in RI's spotlight running as an Independent in the Providence Mayoral race.
Cianci was forced to resign as Mayor in 1984 after being indicted on assault charges.
In April 2001, Cianci was indicted on federal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, witness tampering, and mail fraud.
He served four years in a federal prison.
Providence City Council President and Democratic candidate for Mayor Michael Solomon is currently being investigated by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.
Solomon failed to report a city loan for the Conrad Building on his annual ethics filings.
Michael Long, the Providence Ward 1 Republican City Council Candidate, filed a complaint that charged Solomon with 25 violations of the disclosure requirements.
Dominick Ruggerio is the Democratic Majority Leader of the Rhode Island Senate.
A member of the Senate since 1985, he was elected Majority Leader on November 10, 2010, having won election to his 14th term in the Senate on November 2, 2010.
Ruggerio was arrested for shoplifting condoms in 1990. He was not prosecuted.
In 2012, Ruggerio was charged with a DUI.
In 2002, Former Speaker of the House John Harwood faced unproven sexual misconduct charges.
The allegations brought against Harwood, but never proven, were that he had sex with Statehouse aide Wendy Collins.
Frank Ciccone III
Democratic member of the Rhode Island Senate Frank Ciccone was arrested twice in the 1980's. He has represented District 7 since January 2005.
In 1981, Ciccone punched both a cab driver and passenger in Providence.
Just two years later, Ciccone was charged with possession of a loaded shotgun in a moving vehicle and for breaking a window in a bar.
Although Ciccone was found guilty of lesser charges for both these incidents, they were later expunged.
In 2012, Ciccone intervened when Ruggerio was stopped by police for drunk driving.
Ciccone lost committee chairmanship but is now running for re-election.
Robert A. Watson
Robert Watson, a Republican member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and an attorney, was arrested twice for marijuana possession.
On Friday, April 22, 2011, Watson was stopped in East Haven, Connecticut at a police checkpoint. He was charged for both marijuana possession and a DUI.
Watson was arrested in South Kingston, RI for possession of marijuana on Jan 22, 2012. In his car were also three containers of alcohol.
Since 1992, Watson has represented the 30th District.
John M. Carnevale is a Democrat of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He has represented District 3 since January 2009.
Carnevale was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first- and second-degree sexual assault in October 2011.
His alleged victim died of a pulmonary embolism shortly after the indictment.
The charges were dropped by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, who cited the inability to proceed with the case due to no longer having the woman's testimony.
In 2012, Carnevale ran unopposed for both the September 11, 2012 Democratic Primary, winning with 550 votes and the November 6, 2012 General election, winning with 2,901 votes.
This past March, the State House office of Former Speaker of the House Gordon Fox was raided by the RI State Police in conjunction with FBI and IRS agents.
This marks the first time a State House office was ever raided by law enforcement officials.
Fox resigned from the Speakership effective March 22, 2014.
Republican candidate for Governor Allan Fung was involved in a fatal car accident in February of 1989 when he was an 18-year-old college student.
After losing consciousness at the wheel on I-95, Fung ran over and killed James W. Skipper, Jr. of Pawtucket.
A grand jury declined to indict him and his record was expunged.
A relative newcomer to politics, Providence mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza is running on a platform of ethics and transparency, but he’s had his brush with the law as well.
In a campaign letter Elorza admitted to being arrested for shoplifting as an 18-year-old.
He says he has since transformed his life, going from CCRI to a job on Wall Street, then to a profession in law. A former housing court judge, he resigned his position to run for Mayor.
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