Letter From The Editor 

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were invited to a quinceañera for the daughter of a friend. This rite of passage is a Latin American tradition that formally celebrates a 15-year-old girl's transition to "womanhood." It's a festive event with lavish dresses and formal attire and much music, food, and dancing. We had a great time.

The daughter, whom we'll call "Angela," was brought to the U.S. illegally as a very young child. She is a typical American teenager in every perceivable way, having attended Shelby County public schools her entire life. She's just graduated from a suburban high school with excellent grades. She's bright, articulate, and motivated to succeed, but she faces an uncertain future.

That future just got a little less dire as a result of President Obama's recent decision not to pursue deportation of illegal immigrants under 30 who meet the following criteria: They were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16, have lived here for five continuous years, committed no crimes, graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. The approximately 800,000 U.S. residents, including Angela, who qualify under these conditions are now allowed to file for renewable two-year work permits.

It's not yet a path to citizenship, but it at least will allow these young people to come out of the shadows and contribute openly to our society by working at jobs commensurate with their skills and education and, yes, paying taxes.

Obama's decision provoked the usual outrage from the right. It was a cynical political move, opponents said. The president was also excoriated for his "arrogance" and for acting like an "emperor." These same folks, one suspects, had little problem accepting George Bush's 157 presidential "signing statements" that, in his view, exempted him from following laws passed by Congress. Bush, of course, had the advantage of not being Kenyan.

There is little doubt that the White House considered the fallout from this move and calculated it would be a net plus, politically. And judging from Mitt Romney's utter inability to form a lucid response to the president's decision, pro or con, the Obama team's calculations were on target.

But, political considerations aside, this moves the ball forward on our immigration problem. And in concert with the fact that net migration from Hispanic countries into the U.S. is now zero, this seemingly intractable problem may not be so unsolvable as it once appeared to be. For Angela's sake — and ours — I hope so.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Tiger Blue

Tigers 70, UCF 65

News Blog

Thousands Join Memphis Women's March

Politics Beat Blog

One Eye on The Memphis Women's March, January 21, 2017

News Blog

PODCAST: Two Flyer Guys and the Portland Protests

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies 107, Kings 91: Game Notes

Intermission Impossible

Hitchcock, Cock Rock, and Bayard Rustin Live on Stage

Tiger Blue

Tigers 70, Houston 67 (OT)

News Blog

Sierra Club Protests Trump's EPA Choice

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • A Bridge Too Far

    The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced last week that the I-55 "old bridge" across the Mississippi would be closed for nine months, beginning in 2017, so that the department could build new exit and entrance ramps. This is a really horrible idea, with potentially disastrous economic, public safety, and even national security ramifications ...

    • Jun 4, 2015
  • Why The Fuss?

    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Serious Christians

    What is the picture on your computer's desktop screen? Your kids? Your dog? Maybe a memorable vacation photo? Mine is a shot I took one October morning in 2012 as I was about to wade into the Little Red River. A mist is coming off the water, lit golden by a rising sun. The streamside trees are glowing yellow and red and that pale, dry green that says autumn is here. The photo captures everything I like about being on a stream. I put it on my computer so I'd see it each morning when I began to work — a reminder of the beauty that's so easy to lose sight of in the hustle of everyday life ...
    • Oct 8, 2015
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation