By Joe Guzzardi
February 4, 2015
When it comes to selling his unpopular executive amnesty, President Obama likes to play hardball. Obama delivered his latest intimidating message through his Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, an outspoken amnesty advocate.
Johnson sent a letter to the nation’s sheriffs and police chiefs to warn them that that if Congress doesn’t pass Obama’s amnesty, local and state law enforcement agencies wouldn’t get the federal grants they count on to carry out their duties. On his Facebook page, Larimer County, Colorado sheriff Lamar Smith called Johnson’s letter a “thinly veiled threat.”
To start at the beginning, Johnson is unqualified for his job. While previous DHS secretaries Janet Napolitano and Michael Chertoff were also on board with amnesty, they at least had applicable experience. Napolitano served as Arizona’s governor from 2003 to 2009; Chertoff had been a U.S Attorney in New Jersey and worked on the Mafia Commission Trail.
Johnson has no relevant background in security either at the border, the ports, in the interior or at the airport. Nevertheless, because he was an active fund raiser during Obama’s two campaigns, Johnson won the top DHS job where he oversees 240,000 people and manages a $40 billion budget.
Since the Senate confirmed Johnson in 2013, he’s been promoting one of the most outrageous lies about Obama’s amnesty, namely that it needs to pass in order to enhance national security.
According to Johnson, legalizing five million unlawful immigrants will allow DHS to prioritize dangerous criminal aliens. Instead of spending scarce financial resources on so-called law abiding illegal immigrants, DHS can turn its attention to capturing and deporting the bad guys.
But there are two problems with Johnson’s analysis. First, not only have few illegal immigrants been deported during the Obama administration, they’ve been rewarded instead. Under Obama, deportations from the interior declined 23 percent since 2013 and 39 percent since 2011. Catch and release continues unabated. Of the 585,000 aliens Immigration and Customs Enforcement encountered in 2014, only 143,000 were processed. And the number of aliens who have received a final order of removal, but who are still in the U.S. has increased to nearly 900,000 including 167,000 convicted criminals that ICE released and who are still at large. In recent weeks, illegal immigrants murdered a Texas musician, an Arizona store clerk, and two Sacramento County police officers.
Second, as for the administration’s rewards for illegal immigrants, a Center for Immigration Studies report found that since 2009, nearly 5.5 million aliens have received employment authorization despite persistent high American unemployment. Work permits have been issued to, among others, visas over-stayers, Central American border crossers, and aliens whose current whereabouts is unknown.
Sheriff Smith summarized most Americans’ displeasure with Obama’s amnesty when he wrote that the president believes he has the authority to nullify federal immigration laws that don’t serve his personal agenda. But when Congress exercises its responsibility to decide where taxpayer money is allocated, Obama will willingly hold public safety grants hostage to get his way.
Smith added that Obama isn’t obligated to agree with the Congress Americans elected to work with him. But the president does have to respect Congress’ constitutional mandate to make immigration law. In conclusion, Smith asked that Obama “show integrity and stop with the threats” which the sheriffs “don’t take kindly to.”
This week, 46 Senate Democrats voted to block debate on Obama’s unpopular amnesty. With a presidential veto looming over any congressional effort to impede Obama’s executive action, immigration is poised to be the nation’s most contentious domestic issue in the months leading up to the 2016 party conventions.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]