By Joe Guzzardi
November 26, 2014
After President Obama dropped his immigration amnesty bombshell last week, Congress was left to grapple with the most effective way to counterattack. Many Republicans and some Democrats, still reeling from the November election catastrophe, opposed how Obama unilaterally moved to give about 5 million unlawful immigrants legal status. Obama’s speech, which brazenly twisted facts, stunned law-abiding Americans and legal immigrants.
Among the benefits included for the aliens in Obama’s bold but unconstitutional action are work permits, social security numbers, and government-issued photo IDs. That’s not all. Because the immigrants will have legal standing, most states will issue them driver’s licenses and provide health coverage.
From a bureaucratic perspective, processing applications from 5 million candidates for deferred action is impossible and will open the door for fraudsters. No agency, especially one as already overwhelmed as U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, could possibly keep up with the demand. USCIS, which processes about 4 million petitions annually, has a backlog of 7 million overseas applications.
Obama’s executive order means that USCIS would have to double its capacity during the next few months, a task beyond its reach. The higher the volume of applicants, the greater the delay for foreign nationals legitimately in line, and the greater the potential for fraud. Immigration officials familiar with Obama’s 2012 deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) predict that establishing the modeling and logistics for the president’s new program will be “incredibly challenging.” Since the agency will be under intense pressure to speed up requests, corner cutting and rubber stamping are inevitable.
According to figures USCIS provided to Congress, DACA required 900 new employees and spent about $280 million during a three-year period. Hundreds more will be needed and thousands more spent to accommodate Obama’s latest order.
The failed 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act offers many examples of what can and will go wrong. In his address, Obama promised to beef up border security which some amnesty critics called an olive branch. In 1986, Congress made the pledge, ultimately unfulfilled, even though then-President Ronald Reagan had a more trustworthy record on immigration than President Obama. Yet, fraud was rampant. The Immigration and Naturalization Service found at least one-third of aliens’ applications submitted under the Special Agricultural Workers Program were falsified. Field workers had to prove that they worked in agriculture at least 90 days during the preceding twelve months, a provision they easily skirted with counterfeit documents. Obama’s naysayers expect more of the same duplicity regarding the five-year residency requirement.
Even though USCIS won’t be ready to accept applications until May 2015, the pressure is on for the administration to deliver the legalization it promised, and for the maximum number of aliens to take advantage. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) recently announced that he would travel nationwide to pre-register as many illegal immigrants as possible.
In politics, six months is an eternity. Republicans have choices that could derail Obama’s dismantlement of the historic American nation, the most effective of which would be to defund his unilateral amnesty. But if the GOP stands idly by, then the remaining seven million aliens unprotected by Obama’s initial order will also, in the not too distant future, be granted legal status. That would encompass each of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S., and deliver devastating blow to American sovereignty.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]