The U.S. president announced that he will protect from deportation, through an executive order, approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Many of them will be given work permits so they can work lawfully.
As was to be expected, Republicans have reacted by accusing the president of abusing his power and causing a Constitutional crisis. According to Republicans, Obama is making it more difficult for Congress to work in a bipartisan way on comprehensive immigration reform and on any other issue that might arise in the near future.
The truth is that after the countless attempts — all failures — to find a common work platform with Republicans, the president and a significant portion of the Democratic Party seem to have admitted defeat.
Groups that are unhappy with the president’s conciliatory mood and who called Obama the “Deporter-in-Chief” due to his record on deportations of undocumented immigrants will now see in this decision the clear fulfillment of an electoral promise.
Few question the legality of the decision he has taken. What happens is that even though the law is not being violated, traditions that have governed the functioning of the state for decades may be undermined.
This past Nov. 4, Democrats lost their majority in the Senate and the House, and Obama, less than one month later, is openly ignoring the electoral message of this defeat by issuing an executive order without running it by a Congress, which, it must be said, is not disposed to approving anything coming from the executive.
The logic behind Obama’s action is electoral: In 2012, 71 percent of Latinos living in the U.S. voted for Obama; only 27 percent voted for Mitt Romney.
Among all Latino voters, 77 percent suggested that immigrants should be offered the opportunity to attain legal status.
Things being what they are, it is clear that Obama is building public policy through this executive order to fully attract and consolidate the political preferences of a key group in the Democratic Party base, a crucial objective before the next presidential election in 2016.
The biggest winner from Obama’s new insult against the Republicans will no doubt be Hillary Clinton.