President Barack Obama's announcement today that his administration will no longer deport the majority of young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children has already been dragged into the political arena and it's being smacked around by Republicans. But let's be real. This move goes beyond politics. Protecting young immigrants is a win for American families: all of them.
What came out of the White House today isn't about politics. It's about protecting children from the burden of being punished for actions their parents committed. We live in a country where kids are supposed to be protected, doted on, cared for, but until today, kids were being told that something that happened to them when they were helpless infants was their fault.
But not anymore.
From here on out, children brought to America by their parents under shady circumstance will be treated as just that: children. Children can't enter into contracts in the United States. They can't be charged with adult crimes. And as long as they meet certain criteria, they can't be deported for simply doing what their parents asked.
As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told The Stir during a conference call with several members of the press today, "They don't know any other country ... they want to work and contribute to our social security. They want to serve in our military ... want to give back to this country that gave them so much."
How can you argue with that?
Oh come on. Put kids in any other situation, and expect them to bear the burden of their parents' mistakes, and people would be screaming from the rooftops.
Picture it. A mom takes her infant daughter along on a murder. Do we punish the child as an "accessory to murder?" Of course not. That would be ridiculous.
OK, but the kid didn't "do" the crime? Here's one: say mom leaves the keys in the ignition of the car. Toddler climbs in, puts the car in reverse, and slams into another vehicle, killing the driver. Do you charge the kid? Again, no.
So why are there Americans who would actually support taking a young person and shipping them off to another country because they are an "illegal" immigrant? They might be here illegally, but they've had as little control over that as that infant carted to the murder scene and as little knowledge of the law as that toddler who maneuvered the car into an accident.
If we protect these kids, it sends a message to the world that all children in America are precious, no matter who their parents are.
What do you think of the Obama administration's bold move today?
Image via Elvert Barnes/Flickr