Jay Am­brose: Help­ing young il­le­gal im­mi­grants the right way

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It is about as right as right gets that young peo­ple whose par­ents brought them into the United States il­le­gally as chil­dren should be le­gal­ized, and it was about as wrong as wrong gets for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to spit on the Con­sti­tu­tion in or­der to tem­po­rar­ily do it on his own. He him­self had said no fewer than 22 times that he had no author­ity to act but trav­eled the au­to­cratic road any­way.

The ex­cuse, of course, was that Repub­li­cans in Congress were ob­struct­ing good in­ten­tions and that he was thereby freed to trash the sys­tem that put him into of­fice. He had, in fact, sworn to up­hold the Con­sti­tu­tion and was re­fus­ing that obli­ga­tion, ap­par­ently fig­ur­ing that the end jus­ti­fied the means and that mis­wrought legalese would help him get away with it. Why worry?

Be­cause it took a Revo­lu­tion­ary War, a chal­lenged union of states, a bril­liantly de­vised repub­lic like no other in world his­tory and var­ied strug­gles over more than two cen­turies to make us what we are, that’s why.

As kind as it was that the 800,000 got some re­lief, it was also po­lit­i­cally ad­van­ta­geous, and Obama was weak­en­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy. He was strength­en­ing mis­use of ex­ec­u­tive power. He was di­min­ish­ing rule of law. Along with his other uni­lat­eral hi­jinks, such as the Clean Power Plan, the move summed up his dis­dain for fun­da­men­tal Amer­i­can prin­ci­ples.

Ex­ec­u­tive or­ders are vul­ner­a­ble, how­ever. An ex­ec­u­tive is­sues them, and a suc­ceed­ing ex­ec­u­tive can take them away. So it is that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­cided to re­voke the or­der but keep it alive for six months so that Congress could fix things the right way. Trump thereby showed re­spect for the law but also showed con­cern for the 800,000. The young im­mi­grants could be hap­pily re­ly­ing on a prop­erly en­acted law far more sta­ble than a pres­i­den­tial mis­deed quite prob­a­bly on its way to be­ing scotched by the courts. An­other of Obama’s im­mi­gra­tion amnesties met that fate.

An ar­gu­ment against con­gres­sional ac­tion is that it will sim­ply en­cour­age more il­le­gal im­mi­grants to en­ter the coun­try ei­ther by com­ing over the bor­der or over­stay­ing visas. Trump, how­ever, did call for an e- ver­ify sys­tem to help with the visas and, to help with bor­der se­cu­rity, his wall, his wall, his won­der­ful wall. He shouldn’t get it be­cause there are far less ex­pen­sive and equally ef­fec­tive means of achiev­ing what he has al­ready sig­nif­i­cantly fur­thered just through his or­a­tory. But he could very well get im­proved se­cu­rity that in­cludes a few walls.

So will Congress, af­ter years of dilly- dally and head- bump­ing, say yes to the young peo­ple who are here not be­cause of their own free will, but be­cause their par­ents snuck them in? They are good, pro­duc­tive peo­ple who are al­ready en­rich­ing our coun­try and it would be un­speak­ably cruel to dis­rupt their lives now by ship­ping them away. An ar­gu­ment in an­other di­rec­tion is that laws were dis­obeyed and that it un­der­mines our sovereignty not to en­force them.

But Trump is work­ing on de­port­ing crim­i­nals who are il­le­gal im­mi­grants and re­form­ing le­gal im­mi­gra­tion to lessen num­bers and em­pha­size skills. In that con­text, it seems to me that do­ing the right thing by the young peo­ple is the easy choice and that mem­bers of Congress should es­chew po­lit­i­cal over­reach.

The last thing the Democrats should be do­ing is call­ing Trump’s cor­rec­tive mea­sures racist and try­ing to make all Repub­li­cans seem noth­ing but dem­a­gogues. The last thing the Repub­li­cans should be do­ing is in­sist­ing the Democrats just want to en­large their vot­ing bloc. What we need is rea­son­able, re­spect­ful, heart­felt dis­cus­sion that could get us to a res­o­lu­tion mak­ing us all proud.

I think we will.

It is so easy to lose hope in to­day’s crazy world. We have so much bad news thrown at us, that it is easy to lose sight of the good, the light, the hope. In July 2016, my son was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. We were on a Dis­ney cruise where he had a stom­achache through­out the week. The last night of the cruise, he was med­i­cally evac­u­ated from the ship, ad­mit­ted to a hospi­tal in Florida, and ul­ti­mately flown to Chil­dren’s Health­care of At­lanta at Egle­ston. Within the next few days, he was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. He had a solid mass tu­mor in his ab­domen, and his first round of che­mother­apy was ad­min­is­tered the day be­fore his 7th birth­day. My en­tire fam­ily walked a very try­ing path last year, but on our jour­ney, we saw so much light and love. It was amaz­ing.

Ini­tially, my son was in the hospi­tal for 28 days. Through the months that fol­lowed, he was in and out of the hospi­tal for che­mother­apy, fevers, in­fec­tions, surgery, re­cov­ery, ra­di­a­tion and clinic. His cu­mu­la­tive time at the hospi­tal or other med­i­cal fa­cil­ity to­taled 132 days out of 275. He had a to­tal of four­teen rounds of che­mother­apy and twenty days of ra­di­a­tion. The treat­ments and surgery were suc­cess­ful, and he is now can­cer- free. Ex­actly nine months to the day from be­ing evac­u­ated from the ship, he rang the bell on his fi­nal treat­ment on Fri­day, April 28, 2017. What an awe­some day!

The love and sup­port that poured out from this com­mu­nity for my son and my fam­ily was as­tound­ing. From prayers, hugs, smiles, tears, do­na­tions, meals, and gifts to see­ing peo­ple, some I don’t even know, wear­ing his spe­cial prayer bracelet. It was all such a won­der­ful sup­port; an up­lift­ing and hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence. These spe­cial things that so many peo­ple did for us were some­times the very things that kept us going.

Septem­ber is Child­hood Can­cer Aware­ness Month. I was to­tally un­aware un­til my son was faced with the bat­tle. Child­hood can­cer is the num­ber one dis­ease killer of chil­dren in our coun­try, more than asthma, di­a­betes, cys­tic fi­bro­sis and pe­di­atric AIDS com­bined. Un­for­tu­nately, though, only 4 per­cent of fed­eral fund­ing for can­cer re­search is di­rected to chil­dren. So this year, my fam­ily is mak­ing child­hood can­cer aware­ness a pri­or­ity, and we are cel­e­brat­ing our son’s new lease on life. We have hope. We be­lieve in a cure. This dis­ease is de­feated day by day and dol­lar by dol­lar.

There is al­ways light in the dark, and we saw that first­hand through our jour­ney. We saw light shine from our com­mu­nity. Thank you all for let­ting God use you to lift us and sup­port us. And thank God for plac­ing His lov­ing grace on our fam­ily and His heal­ing hand on our son. Our prayer now is for con­tin­ued clear scans and to find a cure so no other fam­ily has to ex­pe­ri­ence this ter­ri­fy­ing bat­tle.

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