By Joe Guzzardi
November 21, 2014
Now that President Obama has formally delivered his executive order that will officially remove about 5 million illegal immigrants from the already slim chance of deportation, the real battle is about to begin. Immigration advocates will immediately begin to push for similar relief on behalf of the remaining 7 million or more aliens. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said Obama didn’t go far enough, a sentiment activists echo. Obama included little for the high tech or the agricultural workers lobbies. On the other hand, some in Congress, especially those who represent the majority of opposed Americans, will take preliminary steps to dismantle Obama’s action. Obama wanted a showdown; now he’s got one.
Before predicting what might happen, let’s consider why Obama took his drastic measure. Obama knew the firestorm he would set off and that, by his own admission on more than 20 occasions, he would be violating the Constitution.
During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised the Latino community that he would “fix” immigration during his first year as president. And he could have delivered the type of amnesty legislation the pro-immigration lobby endorsed. In his initial two years, Obama enjoyed a filibuster-proof majority in the House and the Senate.
But Obama spent his political capital on the Affordable Care Act which, to Obama’s disappointment, will not provide his desired legacy. That left him with immigration as his last ditch chance to restore his tarnished image. Then, after the 2014 mid-terms, an angry and frustrated Obama decided to go it alone on immigration with the hope that deferred action for millions of aliens would invigorate his base.
Conferring legal status on 5 million aliens by fiat while also giving them work permits, social security numbers and government-issued ID cards has infuriated a public that had already lost confidence in Obama for his refusal to enforce immigration laws.
During the next months, expect an uninterrupted sequence of nasty confrontations among the president, Congress and lawyers who will file legal challenges. The most immediately available avenue to block Obama is, according to ranking Republicans, to cut off funding. The House would pass a short-term Continuing Resolution that would fund the government from December 11, when the current funding runs out, until shortly after the newly-elected GOP Senate majority takes office in January. Then, Congress could split various Appropriations bills into individual parts that it would fund but exclude the Department of Homeland Security. Since USCIS won’t accept applications until the first quarter of 2015, Congress will have ample time to cut funding. Incoming Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and probable incoming Senate Budget Committee Chair Jeff Sessions confirm that defunding is the most likely strategy Republicans will pursue.
Several governors, claiming that Obama’s amnesty will generate more illegal immigration, plan lawsuits. The governors include North Carolina’s Pat McCrory, Texas’ Rick Perry, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, and Texas governor-elect Greg Abbott and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker say that their states cannot afford the costs associated with a higher illegal immigrant population.
Obama may have been too clever by half. First, he has to sell his plan to the public, a tall order based on his ineffective Obamacare defense. Second, few Americans believe that there will be enhanced border security. Third, history has shown that illegal immigrants will not pay back taxes or be subject to background checks, conditions that Obama suggested would be mandatory.
If Congress denies funding or if the courts uphold legal challenges, Obama will be left holding the bag, an appropriate humiliation for a president who apparently has no respect for working Americans, the Constitution or his sworn oath of office.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]