This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Immigration Reform by Executive Fiat?

Although immigration reform is clearly dead in Congress, President Obama yesterday announced that he intends to do something by way of executive action. This is, of course, almost certainly driven by the recent explosion of women and children from Central America showing up along the south Texas border. But what can he do? This is a very good question and today it was put to Everard Meade, Director of the Transborder Institute at the University of San Diego. He answered questions on KPBS here in San Diego.

Current law allows the executive branch a fair amount of discretion in deciding who among the people arriving in the US without documents can stay or be deported. Indeed, President Obama has played the deportation card more than other president. As he has already promised to do, he can allocate funds to Central American governments to try to stem the current tide of undocumented immigration. However, as Dr. Meade points out, there are real questions about how well the money will be spent in these countries, so this may not be a genuine solution.

What the president cannot do is to change the structure of who migrates legally to the U.S., and that is still an important part of immigration reform bill--already passed by the U.S. Senate--that Speaker of the House John Boehner has refused to bring to a vote in the House of Representatives.

Overall, it seems unlikely that executive action will do very much on the immigration front. In the meantime, the conditions in Central America that stimulate migration are not going away any time soon, as Elizabeth Kennedy noted today in a post on the American Immigration Council website.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing is simple in the Western Welfare Democracies. I am more than happy that people who simply want to work here are allowed to do so but that is not the nature of the migration

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