So I am fairly supportive of the program that Obama proposed in his speech. Specifically, I see three big reasons its good:
* It concretely helps a lot of people, by giving them the ability to lawfully work, and to live without fear, they can better participate in society and have better lives.
* I do not feel a strong moral reason to heavily punish violators of US immigration law, because US immigration law is deeply amoral. Most people have no lawful route by which they could ever move to the US or any other wealthy country.
People who have the ambition to move and work hard to improve their lives and their families lives are doing something that is noble and good. Even though a law is broken in the process, I do not believe they have done something morally wrong by breaking that law, and would not punish them harshly, if at all, for the violation.
* It does appear to be within the bounds of current law. 8 CFR 274a.12(11) allows for work permits for "An alien whose enforced departure from the United States has been deferred in accordance with a directive from the President of the United States to the Secretary. Employment is authorized for the period of time and under the conditions established by the Secretary pursuant to the Presidential directive."
My hesitations are 1: that I would like to see something done through legislature instead, though frankly that seems highly unlikely at this juncture, and 2: that it puts the immigrants who use the program in a precarious position at the discretion of the President who succeeds Obama.
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