We generally are a fair-minded people, particularly when it comes to punishment for crimes. We grant people fair trials. We allow verdicts to be appealed. Generally, under criminal law, we never hold people accountable for the crimes committed by their parents.
That’s why President Obama’s decision to stop deporting young people brought here illegally by their parents seems a fair thing to do. A young person in the arms of his or her mother or father when that parent snuck across the border illegally had nothing to say about the rules being broken.
Once in the U.S., most of those people grew up knowing they might be illegally in the U.S., but couldn’t do anything about it — at least not that they knew.
Most of them went to school, learned English and learned to be citizens. Others joined the armed forces and helped defend the United States even though they knew the path to citizenship of the country they were defending wasn’t open to them. They knew vaguely that even though they were not responsible for being here illegally, they were considered criminals.
So to have the threat of deportation lifted from them, as long as they haven’t committed crimes, and the promise of an avenue to citizenship made available (although not guaranteed) makes sense. It’s the fair thing to do. Even GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney held back on criticizing it.
Obama, of course, could have made this decision his first day in office. It bypassed Congress. He decided instead to carry this out in an election year to shore up his image with Latino voters. That isn’t particularly fair, especially when you consider that many young people (perhaps young people from Madera) could have been spared deportation.
To those who object to any kind of amnesty for illegals, Obama’s decision doesn’t amount to that. It simply extends fair treatment to young people who deserve it.