Jay Ambrose: Helping young illegal immigrants the right way
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.