By Joe Guzzardi
November 26, 2014
The bureaucratic particulars of President Obama’s executive order that will grant legal status to 5 million aliens present many imposing hurdles. Five million is a daunting number, about the same as Colorado’s population, and represents a huge challenge to process the necessary paper work.
But, assuming Obama’s action survives whatever Congress may do to thwart it, the president’s well written, powerfully delivered Thursday night speech was a brilliantly packaged series of deceptions and half truths that shocked all but the most ardent immigration advocates. Americans should be on high alert.
Obama repeatedly insisted that his immigration order is consistent with those of past presidents including Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Regan, and George W. H. Bush. However, those presidents’ adjustments to immigration law tweaked legislation Congress had already passed. In Obama’s case, Congress did not pass a bill. Moreover, the aggregate number of immigrants whose status Obama will change far exceeds the aggregate total of Eisenhower, Regan and Bush. Remember too that during his first term Eisenhower ordered illegal aliens apprehended and removed from the southwest. Before long, hundreds of thousands of aliens had been sent home and hundreds more, in anticipation of being detained, voluntarily left the United States.
More troublesome is Obama’s deceit about the benefits the five million will receive. All will get valid work permits, good for three years, but likely renewable for another three. Using Obama’s 2012 deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) as a guideline, 99 percent will renew. This will allow them to compete with America’s most vulnerable for the few available jobs the economy creates.
Then, having been legal U.S. residents for six years and with social security cards in hand, the once illegal immigrants will be, as advocates like to say, “On the path to citizenship.”
Obama promised three more objectives that, based on the president’s established track report of lax enforcement, will never happen.
First, Obama insisted that he would emphasize deporting criminal aliens instead of “breaking up families.” Whether Obama delivers on his pledge to prioritize the removal of gang members, convicted felons, national security threats and those caught at the border remains to be seen. To date, little the president has done gives confidence that he’ll follow through.
But the administration will also protect many who should but will not be deported. They include those convicted for serious, multiple misdemeanors like drunk driving and those who re-entered after being deported, a felony. Beyond that, families are not being broken up. Instead, as former ICE assistant director John Sandweg said, non-criminal aliens’ deportation probability is “close to zero.” The families that will suffer are those of legal immigrants whose applications will, as they were with DACA, pushed to the back of the line.
Second, Obama’s suggestion that 5 million illegal immigrants will be subject to background checks is preposterous on its face. Most individuals who entered illegally from lawless nations have little in the way of verifiable IDs, assuming the Department of Homeland Security has the manpower, the time or the political will to investigate.
Third, the idea that immigrants will pay back taxes stretches credulity to the maximum. Most illegal immigrants make an average $24,000 annually and, according to a Forbes Magazine report, would collect earned income tax credits, and not pay taxes.
The whole story behind Obama’s amnesty is still unfolding. But as critics analyze the President’s power grab, more troubling details emerge, the gravest of which may be the continued illegal immigration it encourages.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]