Thursday, November 26, 2015
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Inside Washington

What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.

“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.

Of Mice, Men and Immigrants

Inside Washington

Will the temporary workers decision be handled delicately?

By Louie Christensen

The Obama administration is considering overturning a federal judge’s ruling against issuing work permits to illegal immigrants, according to a recently released Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo of an off-the-record meeting.

Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen ordered a freeze on issuing new work permits, known as Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). The permits allow temporary aliens to work in the United States for a short period of time without having to apply for a green card. These EADs are used most often by harvest workers who come across the border when farms and fields are in greatest need of labor, to then return home with their wages. Similar systems are used all across Europe, especially in vineyards where the delicate fruit must often be picked by hand.

Ian M. Smith of The Hill reported, “From a memo recording these discussions, we now know that the Obama DHS has, rather than pausing to allow the courts to assess the constitutionality of its enforcement nullification initiatives, been gearing up to roll out one or more of four plans drawn up at the meeting, each one designed to provide EADs to millions of non-immigrants, including those lawfully present and visa overstayers, crippling the actual employment-based visa system on the federal statute-book.”

The four options he mentioned range from providing EADs to “all individuals living in the United States” to “only those with unexpired non-immigrant visas.”

The memo says the immigrants affected will still “face difficulties in pursuing permanent residence due to ineligibility or being subject to unlawful presence inadmissibility for which a waiver is required.” Some critics say it appears that the intention of Obama’s DHS is to assist individuals to remain in the United States until they are ready and able to become legal immigrants. Ultimately, they say, it seems like the federal government wishes to award those who have broken federal laws with squatting rights.

Both sides of the argument appear to be on very thin-ice . On one side you have a federal judge freezing an existing legal license, which many people say shouldn’t have happened. It would be similar to if a federal judge froze marriage licenses until the gay marriage issue was resolved. On the other side, you have the DHS potentially issuing licenses to those currently in the states illegally. Critics argue that also shouldn’t happen.

The John Steinbeck days from Of Mice and Men are long gone; American-born men no longer knapsack their way across the Salinas valley to find a quick dollar and a warm bunk. In a world where health insurance, 401K’s and Paid Time Off are a God given right for employees, the agricultural industry is left relatively high and dry. They do not require year round, or even large part time staff — they hire huge groups for a few days at low cost, and then drop them when the work is done. Those supporting the EAD program say it allows the agricultural industry to do just that. While it isn’t an ideal situation for American companies to be paying foreign workers money that should be kept stateside, they argue, until American workers want to wake up at 3am, and work harder for their money than they thought possible…the EAD will remain a necessary program.

Between the federal judge’s decision, and the plans for deportation that presidential candidate Donald Trump has been laying out in recent months, the stage is set for a sweeping policy change. The question Americans must ask is “What sounds more appealing? Spending billions of dollars raiding people’s homes on American soil and then forcefully deporting them, or giving people the right to work while they prepare themselves for citizenship?" You can almost hear the inspiring announcement speech now, can’t you?

This week pray for America’s lawmakers. Immigration decisions are very complex ones that will effect far more than just the agricultural industry. America is a country of immigrants (Google search the origin of your last name if you disagree), which makes the topic of immigration a very delicate one. Legislation is a very fragile thing, and can be easily mishandled. If these laws are not sorted out properly, there could be huge holes left in America’s working and defense structure. The United States is a very complex place, and as world markets continue to blur country lines, it will only become more difficult to keep the proverbial borders secure. Prayer is necessary, and bipartisan discussion is needed.

Louie has been writing articles, short stories and travel essays for several years. He is a guest teacher for honors English classes at a high school in Tucson and a frequent contributor to the Presidential Prayer Team. Louie currently lives and works in Phoenix as an Account Executive for a major tech company. 

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