For 12-year-old Yasmin, 10-year-old Elizabeth, and 8-year-old Vicente Herrara, US President Barack Obama’s latest attempt to secure the Latino vote will make no difference whatever.
Along with approximately two thousand other children – all US citizens – the president’s latest ‘executive order’, allowing illegal immigrants between the age of 16 and 30 to remain in the United States, provided they’ve been here at least five years, does not apply to them. Not only are they too young to be affected by the order, but they’ve already been deported to Mexico.
Sparrow Chat recently highlighted the plight of children like Yasmin, Elizabeth, and Vicente, following a somewhat unsympathetic report by the CBS Evening News.
This latest executive order is Obama’s 129th of his presidency. We haven’t heard very much about the others, but a perfunctory glance at the list clarifies why. The vast majority don’t appear worthy of the paper they were written on.
This one is different. There’s an election in the offing. ‘Executive Order number one hundred and twenty-nine’ is nothing more or less than a piece of blatant electioneering. The incumbent needs the Latino vote if he has any hope of holding onto the White House. This little piece of bribery may well secure those votes.
It’s a pity he’s not prepared to allow the return of two thousand US kids exiled to Mexico. Of course, that would mean allowing their parents to return also, and that could lose him votes from states bordering on Mexico. So, no chance. Yasmin, Elizabeth, and Vicente remain stuck in a strange land where they don’t belong, with a language they don’t understand, trying to get an education in schools where the only language they do understand is not spoken.
President Barack Obama could have signed an executive order giving the parents of US citizens the right to live in the United States. Is that asking too much? He could have signed an executive order closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, as he promised to do. Was that asking too much? He could have signed an executive order mandating a public option for healthcare, as he promised to provide. Was that asking too much?
In fact, he could have signed executive orders for lots of things the Republican leadership have blocked in the House, but he didn’t. Instead, he cow-towed to McConnell and Boehner, gave in to their demands and got nothing back in return.
Instead of honoring his promises to the people who voted him into office, he turned himself into a George W Bush on steroids, even to the extent of taking a personal decision as to who would live and who would die in the next drone strike.
It would seem his greatest asset is his ability to sing and dance. He would have made a great entertainer. It’s not too late. A second career, perhaps, if the present one drifts down the tubes after November?
No doubt, Yasmin, Elizabeth, Vicente, and one thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven other young, exiled, US citizens would be happy to sit in the audience and applaud an ex-president who can tell a joke and sing a song – in the unlikely event there is ever a future US president with sufficient compassion to place their happiness and welfare above a selfish desire to secure a few more votes.
 “Obama ends young migrant deportations” BBC, June 15th 2012
 “America – Something Is Sadly Lacking’ Sparrow Chat, May 8th 2012
 “Current List of President Obama’s Executive Orders” 1461days.blogspot.com