Muftic: Immigration issue a winner for Obama |

Muftic: Immigration issue a winner for Obama

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

Elections do have consequences, just not the way you might think.

Should Obama heed voter opinion expressed in the midterm? Immigration did not register in the list of voter issue concerns per an AP exit poll. The economy trumped all. A Wall Street Journal-NBC poll revealed over 70 percent approval of the elements of the compromise immigration bill, yet 48 percent oppose the president’s executive action, breaking along party lines. Go figure.

More extreme anti-immigrants elected to Congress, however, dimmed any likelihood of compromise or congressional action. Presidential elections also have consequences and the president won his second term in 2012 with the electoral firewall of high Hispanic voting states.

Obama’s order carries out some promises he made in 2012. The prospect of the GOP gaining the White House and overturning executive orders or blocking comprehensive reform will inspire Hispanics to turn out to vote Democratic in 2016.

Listening to retiring GOP Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Nov. 20, I was alarmed by the way he linked possibilities of Southern violent reaction to the president’s executive order on immigration and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white cop. I hope he was wrong that racism was behind his constituents’ threats, but that was the sad and ugly implication of his comments.

Coburn’s comments ignore those who sincerely and vocally believe the president violated the Constitution. However, the ruling of constitutionality is not a matter of even the president’s past or present interpretations or the opinion of some member of Congress. It is the courts’ and the place to settle it is there. Hopefully Oklahomans seek that recourse.

Let us get this straight: A “pathway to citizenship” is not part of the president’s order. It is not “amnesty” or comprehensive reform or granting citizenship or Obamacare. The president’s executive order is limited to setting prosecuting priorities for three years. That order gives protection from deportation of dreamers whose parents brought them to the U.S. when they were young and parents of children who were born here. The executive order can be overturned by Congress or the next president.

The order addresses one of the Hispanic and Asian communities’ greatest concern: deportation that breaks up families, leaving kids born in the U.S. behind while a parent is sent back to Mexico or Central America or Asia. There is no deferment for the other six or seven million undocumented, including recent arrivals.

The GOP House has avoided taking any action on immigration reform by demanding “securing our borders before doing anything else.” The president has increased security, deported a thousand a day, and will do even more with his executive action. The goal of “securing the borders” will never be achieved by those looking for excuses for inaction.

For data sources, visit

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