by Abigail Quackenboss
About two weeks ago, I wrote about how immigration reform might be impacted as a result of Eric Cantor’s primary loss. In case you missed the blog, here’s the link. Since then, there have been a some developments, initially sparked by Speaker John Boehner informing President Obama that House Republicans would not pass immigration reform this year. On June 30th, President Obama announced that he would instead take executive action to attempt to alleviate the ongoing border crisis. In addition, President Obama requested $3.7 billion from Congress to help with immigration courts to speed up the deportation process.
To gauge what Votifi users thought, on July 8th, we asked users about their reactions to President Obama’s vow to use executive actions to push immigration reform. Well-over half of respondents (70%) agreed that President Obama should act if Congress will not. Thirteen percent of users admitted they’re sick of the gridlock happening in D.C. There were a lot of great comments, too. (You can visit our site and read them here.) One user wrote, “Where in The United States Constitution does it say that the President of The United States can ‘Make Laws’?” while another wrote, “I was beginning to think…Americans have become so cold-hearted that they can’t (or won’t) tell the difference between an immigration issue and a REFUGEE issue.”
One of the greatest problems that the current crisis, immigration or refugee, faces is that most of the children are not coming from Mexico. If the children were from Mexico (and for argument’s sake, Canada), they could be deported without an immigration hearing. Instead, because the minors are from mostly-Central American countries, they must be granted a deportation hearing. Some estimates have placed wait times at almost two years for a hearing.
When you calculate how many children have crossed the border and been taken into custody since October, (over 52,000) it’s no wonder President Obama has asked for such a sum of money to help speed up the courts process. The Rio Grande Valley of Texas alone accounts for most of the apprehensions, with over 37,000 occurring since October.
Texas, where most of the children are crossing, isn’t equipped to handle such an influx of temporary inhabitants. Instead, the U.S Border Patrol is transporting bus-loads of immigrants to places such as Murrieta, California and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Murrieta was in the limelight just before Independence Day when protesters blocked three buses from completing the transport to a detention facility. Murrieta’s own mayor has stated that he had concerns about the transport.
In light of the press and publicity, on July 9th, we asked Votifi users what their reactions to the protests were.
The comments were certainly interesting. Here are a few excerpts.
“Actually, what I see is hatred. I am personally embarrassed by the people who choose to show hatred over showing empathy toward people who need empathy. As a country we need to be ashamed.”
“This law [the one requiring children have a deportation hearing, we assume] was passed by President Bush…Right now there are not enough venues to [protect and turn over children within 72 hours] so they are living in jail-like cells..”
“What part of ‘ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT’ do you not understand? These people –weather [sic] they be Men, Women AND/OR Children are in the United States illegally.”
“I bet if there was a bus-load of beautiful light-skinned blondes they would be welcomed with open arms…just saying to make a point about racism and hatred.”
It is evident that immigration is certainly in the spotlight right now, but part of me wonders how long it will stay there. Regardless, hopefully President Obama and/or Congress can devise a plan of action for the current crisis.