Statesman

Obama acts on several national crises

Vijay Magati, Graphics Editor

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Over the past few months, President Obama has made decisions on controversial issues that impact millions of people across the country.

Net Neutrality

Attempting to influence the debate about the Internet’s future, President Obama said on Nov. 10 that a free and open Internet was imperative to the lives of Americans.

Obama sought to preserve a free Internet by utilizing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Obama said that the FCC needs to adopt the strictest rules possible to prevent broadband companies from blocking or intentionally slowing down legal content and from allowing content providers to pay for a fast lane to reach consumers. That approach demands thinking about both wired and wireless broadband service as a public utility, he said.

“I completely agree with President Obama on his views on the Internet, and I also think that a free Internet is something that we need as a culture,” Pawan Sajnani ’15 said. “The Internet is one of the rare truly free places we have in our society, where we can share anything and everything we want to, and we need to preserve that.”

 

Climate Change

In a recent announcement of a bilateral U.S.-China agreement, the two countries are setting targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions out for the year 2030. Currently, the United States, European Union, and China produce more than half of the world’s annual CO2 emissions, but with the new agreement, all three countries have decided to work towards significantly limiting future emissions.

Some feel that there exists an inherent need to look at the nature of the commitment and see if the actions being taken are big enough to significantly improve our chances of keeping global warming below 2 degrees celsius, the general guideline for avoiding extremely dangerous climate change.

Others question whether the decision will effectively be able to minimize the rapid advancement of global warming.

“I think that the agreement between the U.S. and China was a step in the right direction, but far from ideal,” Josh Song ’15 said. “There really won’t be any progress until there’s some sort of international law that binds the two nations’ efforts together.”

 

Immigration Policy

President Obama announced a series of executive orders that will protect up to 4-5 million of the 11 million currently undocumented immigrants in the United States from deportation.

Under the president’s plan, certain undocumented immigrants —including those who have children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents – will have the opportunity to receive work documents.

According to the Center for American Progress, immunizing over 4 million immigrants from deportation will result in an approximate $2.87 billion dollars in new payroll tax revenue.

However, many are skeptical regarding as to whether Obama has the Constitutional authority to execute such an action without Congressional consent. Yet Obama defends his actions by saying that since Congress never passed any legislation regarding the issue, he had to act.

“There are actions I have the legal authority to take as president — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just,” Obama said.

“While I’m not sure if Obama should have done this or if he could have acted differently, I do  understand why he did it,” Theodore Chou ’15 said. “Congress wouldn’t be helpful with this immigration bill; the only way to pass anything on this topic is with an executive order. I don’t think criticism is necessarily warranted, because we will have to see how the order plays out and how successful it is.”

While some believe that President Obama did well with the executive order, there are others that believe that he made the wrong move because his immigration reform does not properly solve America’s immigration problem. Furthermore, some believe that Obama is not staying consistent when stating his opinions on this matter.

“The plan Obama is presenting is more than just, as the president himself has acknowledged, an overreach — it’s also unfair,” Sajnani said. “Obama even said multiple times that he did not have or did not want to use executive authority to advance immigration reform.”

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Obama acts on several national crises