U.S. President Obama is facing his worst crisis to date. His popularity among Americans has been continuously dropping below 40 percent, and recently some conservative groups have openly called for his impeachment. A more surprising fact is that, according to a recent poll, one-third of Americans support this proposal. The reason for the impeachment call is that more than 57,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S. border illegally over the past seven months, and the president has shown an inability to handle such a national crisis. The children are mostly from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. As the political unrest in these countries adds to social unrest through murder threats and drug crimes, people are sending their young children unaccompanied to cross the U.S. border to seek a better life and safety. This is causing an inhumane situation, a serious problem of children wandering around the U.S. without their parents.
In fact, the problem of immigration is not a new issue in the U.S.
The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22 1963, stunned the American people. Then-Vice President Johnson succeeded the presidency, and, after finishing the remaining one year of Kennedy’s term, he ran for president and won the election by an overwhelming margin. Not long after Johnson took over the presidency, he signed the famous Civil Rights Act in 1964. Though Johnson signed the bill, it was actually initiated by President Kennedy.
Before the act, the U.S. used an immigration quota system. Under this, 80 percent of the total amount of immigration allowed per year was for European Caucasians, followed by around 5 percent for South Americans and Asians, and almost none for Africans. The quotas for Europeans were left unused, while Asians competed fiercely for a small quota. Koreans who wished to come to America had to give up on the immigration option; obtaining a student visa was the only way for them to come to the U.S. The Civil Rights Act completely eliminated the racially driven quota system.
Even after the door was opened for Hispanics and Asians, it was still difficult for Hispanics and Asians to cross the border. America has been the land of dreams for young Asians and Hispanics. It was relatively easier for young Mexicans seeking the American dream to illegally cross the border than Asians. The illegal border crossing increased rapidly in countries, such as Mexico, that share their borders with the United States.
Now children are coming in flocks to the U.S. without their parents. How could one argue to send them back to a land of death from which they are escaping? Many people argue that the U.S., a country that especially takes humanitarian principles seriously, cannot simply neglect the young children wandering about without their guardians. But this view is sharply opposed by those who claim that, realistically, the U.S. cannot deal with several thousands of children crossing the border every day. Some people also claim that it is hard to estimate the number of children that have snuck into the U.S. without getting caught. This is why even Hispanic Americans, who played a major role in Obama’s reelection, have turned their backs on Obama now, criticizing his incompetence.
As the issue has turned into an urgent problem, Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding from Congress to enhance border security, to expand detention centers for illegal minors, to expedite their legal processes, and to provide financial aid for home countries of children who will be deported. The concern of conservatives is not that deporting these children will send the wrong message that the U.S. is a welfare paradise, even though sending them back to their countries will be criticized as inhumane. Conservatives claim that money should be spent on the deportation of the children that crossed the border illegally. Some of them claim that the National Guard should be fully mobilized to crack down on illegal border crossing. Others are demanding Obama’s resignation, calling for the impeachment of Obama, who asks for emergency funds again after already using up a huge budget on free medical services for illegal immigrants. A few days ago, the state convention of South Dakota’s Republican Party passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of Obama.
In the last presidential election, Obama and the Democratic Party campaigned on giving permanent residency to illegal aliens without criminal records who obey the law in the U.S. That was a more tolerant policy toward illegal immigration. The Republican Party opposed this strongly. In the end, Obama was reelected, defeating the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, by getting the support of 75 percent of Hispanics, who have a vested interest in the issue of illegal immigration. But now he is in a serious crisis for this very immigration policy that helped his reelection.
Now over 45 percent of Hispanics oppose Obama, and the House Republicans have voted to sue Obama for exceeding his executive powers. A bigger problem for him is that there does not seem to be a good solution to this crisis.