By Joe Guzzardi
December 12, 2014
For more than 25 years, I’ve been deeply involved in immigration policy. I’ve worked hands on in the immigrant community on a daily basis as an English as a Second Language instructor, and then as a journalist. In 1986, I taught adult migrant farm workers in California’s San Joaquin Valley when they were required to spend 40 classroom hours to qualify for their green cards as part of Ronald Regan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act.
My classes were expanded to include Southeast Asian refugees enrolled in a county welfare- to- work program. Eventually, one of the local newspapers approached me to ask if I would write a weekly column that dealt with my experiences. By the time my column appeared in print, I was an expert in immigration realities. Working every day with any federal policy is always eye-opening, especially when you begin, as I did, with a clean slate. Before I started my second career as a teacher, I had been a New York banker who literally knew nothing about immigration.
After a quarter of a century on the front line, I can’t think of a single thing done either in Congress or in state government that has eliminated foolish immigration laws or passed new legislation that might ultimately deter more unlawful entry.
From literally dozens of examples of federal inaction, I’ll cite two. End birthright citizenship which most industrialized countries discontinued long ago. Birthright citizenship has spawned the ludicrous birth tourism sham that, since it requires visa fraud, Immigration and Customs Enforcement could quickly stop by rigorously monitoring the “hotels” the foreign-born pregnant women reside in. Replace the anchor baby injustice with a provision that before a child is conferred citizenship, at least one parent must be a legal U.S. resident.
Second, pass mandatory E-Verify which will insure that only American citizens or legal immigrants hold U.S. jobs. If the jobs magnet were off the table, illegal immigration would be dramatically curtailed.
Ending birthright citizenship is a non-starter in Congress. An E-Verify bill passed the House Judiciary Committee in 2011, but Speaker John Boehner refused to bring it to the floor.
States may be even greater enablers. They’ve offered sanctuary to aliens, gutted Secure Communities, issued driver’s licenses and offered in state tuition to illegal immigrants. My home state of California allows aliens to become lawyers and proposes a comprehensive, taxpayer funded health care bill for its 2.6 million unlawful residents.
Over the years, the illegal immigration lobby grew larger, more well-funded and, inevitably, more influential. Eventually, they helped elect just the right man for their cause. And, indeed, President Obama delivered on his often promised comprehensive immigration reform, albeit by executive action.
With a stroke of his infamous pen and over the objections of millions of outraged Americans, Obama will grant legal status, work permits, social security cards, tax credits and Medicare benefits to 5 million unlawful immigrants.
Critics have pointed out that Obama acted unconstitutionally and without congressional approval. Technically, that’s true. But Obama couldn’t have achieved his goal without the Republican-controlled House’s cooperation. Instead of refusing to provide funding for Obama’s unilateral action, the House barely passed the budget bill that allows it to go forward.
Many in the GOP are mystified as to how or why party leadership would squander the historic majority voters gave it a month ago and defy its base on Obama’s unpopular amnesty. Some conclude that Boehner and his lieutenants are as pro-open borders as Obama.
As disappointing as the omnibus vote is, the battle to preserve American sovereignty rages on. Twenty-four U.S. states have joined a Texas-led coalition suing Obama for his “trampling” of the Constitution. Hope for sensible immigration springs eternal.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]