By Joe Guzzardi
November 7, 2014
During his post-election press conference, President Obama drew the proverbial “line in the sand” on immigration. Despite the overwhelming defeat Obama’s immigration policies suffered at the Election Day ballot box, he indicated an obstinate determination to proceed on his proposed executive order to legalize at least 5 million unlawful immigrants before December.
The best measure of the Senate Gang of Eight bill’s unpopularity, which Obama’s White House aides wrote and the president heartily endorsed, is the election results. Gone are Senate Democrats who voted “yea,” Mark Pryor, (AK), Kay Hagan (NC), Mark Udall (CO), certainly Mark Begich (AK), stubbornly refusing to concede despite trailing by 8,000 votes with 100 percent of the precincts having reported, and Mary Landrieu (LA) who faces a December run-off. Kansas Senate challenger Greg Orman supported the Senate legislation, but did not come close to unseating incumbent Pat Roberts who voted no.
Nevertheless, Obama pledged to move ahead on immigration even though the likely incoming Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell warned that unilateral action would be like “waving a red flag in front of a bull” and would “poison the well” for future congressional legislation. Three Republican Senators from the Gang of Eight’s original cosponsors, Lindsey Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL) and John McCain (AZ), wrote to Obama pleading with him not to move independently.
Hispanic activists argue that since his inauguration Obama has done little on immigration and, worse, has broken earlier promises to act more broadly. That’s a flawed analysis, however, since Obama’s 2012 deferred action for childhood arrivals not only legalized several hundred thousand young aliens but also led to this summer’s Central American border surge that will result in permanent residency for thousands more illegal immigrants. Other Obama deferred action spared families of military personnel from deportation—not that deportation is likely. Former Acting Immigration Customs and Enforcement director John Sandweg recently told the Los Angeles Times that in the Obama administration, the chances of a non-criminal alien being deported is “close to zero.”
With the disastrous election results in, the pro-amnesty crowd has spent considerable time trying to figure out what went wrong. Only a few months ago, amnesty seemed a certainty. But critics overlook what’s been increasingly clear since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act—amnesty is increasingly unpopular with mainstream American voters including Hispanics, blacks and Independent voters. Lobbyists, special interest groups and the Chamber of Commerce want legalization; working Americans don’t.
As each year passes, Americans have become more aware of the collective effect of annually adding about one million legal, work authorized immigrants and thousands more guest workers, who rarely go home, as well as still more thousands of illegal immigrants, many of whom work off the books. Until 1970, legal immigration averaged about 250,000 per year.
Americans have woken up to what “comprehensive immigration reform” really means—that millions of unlawful immigrants, whose numbers have multiplied after years of non-enforcement, would suddenly be rewarded with legal status and work permits.
The other fallacious argument is the utter nonsense that Obama has to grant an executive amnesty because he’s promised the Latinos. Politicians break promises every day—that they’ll create jobs, improve education, and cut taxes. With or without Obama’s amnesty, the majority of Hispanics will always vote Democrat.
Legalizing 5 million illegal immigrants would be hurtful to citizens. The inevitable consequence will be continued American job displacement and lost wages especially among minorities and those who have a high school education or less, a price that American society can’t afford to pay.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]