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Is the Syrian Crisis Both a Danger and Opportunity for CIR? By Roger Algase

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In my previous post (see September 3 Immigration Daily) I drew a parallel between the violation of the basic norms of human rights by Assad's (alleged) use of poison gas to kill some 1,400 children and adults in Syria, and an admittedly less egregious but still serious assault on the human rights of 11 million unauthorized immigrants whose main "offenses" are EWL - Entry While Latino (formerly known under the euphemism: EWI - Entry Without Inspection), and seeking a better life in this country for themselves and their families.

I also raised the question whether President Obama would have the courage to act alone to save the children of Syria from future poison gas attacks if neither the international community nor Congress supported US air strikes; and whether he would show the same courage to use executive action to save CIR (or at least its all-important legalization provisions), if Congress finally kills it through the Republican poison pill of House inaction.

Since then, events have shown more light on the president's attitude toward Syria, but the national agonizing over Syria has pushed CIR into the shadows of being banished from the headlines, if not cast into the abyss of disappearance from the news cycle completely.

The total concentration of the media on Syria to the exclusion of all else is understandable - what is more important than an issue of war or peace? - but it could also mean a crisis for immigration reform. The biggest hope of House Republicans is that they will be able to kill reform in silence, by letting it die quietly through inaction while the country is looking in a different direction.

Because of Syria, this goal may be closer than anyone thought to being realized. If no one is watching, the House Republican majority - and leadership - do not even need to go though the charade of pretending to take up "piecemeal" reform bills with all their enforcement-first or enforcement-only poison pills. They can just let the whole issue go away quietly, if not so gently, into the good night (to paraphrase Dylan Thomas).

But, as the old cliche goes, the Chinese characters for crisis are said to consist of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity". I have to put in a disclaimer here - I know next to nothing about the Chinese language or Chinese characters, so I have no idea if this is really true. Wikipedia says it is all nonsense.

But, using this idea just by way of example, the the focus on Syria that poses such a danger for CIR could be an opportunity for the president to start implementing Plan B; in other words, to begin expanding executive action in order to save tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people who face deportation in the coming months or year even though they present no threat of harm to the US. Eventually, there is nothing to prevent executive action from being extended to all of the 11 million immigrants involved, in order to rescue them from an abyss of fear and despair.

The danger that CIR may die quietly in the House of Representatives while the nation is distracted by the human rights crisis for millions of people in Syria could be an opportunity to enhance the human rights of 11 million immigrants in the US to achieve some form of legal status and freedom from persecution though presidential action.





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Updated 09-05-2013 at 06:32 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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