By Joe Guzzardi
October 3, 2014
Ever since President Obama announced that he would delay his executive order amnesty for six million unlawful aliens until after the mid-term elections, the media and the pro-immigration lobby has taken him to task for, as they describe it, breaking his promise.
But another broken Obama promise goes unnoticed. In late June, as Central Americans were flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border and outraged Americans were expressing their anger at the lack of enforcement, the White House issued a fact sheet which outlined how it would combat Central Americans’ illegal entry. Obama pledged that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would take additional steps to expedite enforcement and removal proceedings. In cases where court hearings are necessary, the fact sheet continued, they would be held as quickly as possible so that Immigration and Customs Enforcement could return aliens to their home countries promptly. For good measure, Vice President Biden was given the responsibility of advising Central American leaders that neither children nor their adult companions would be eligible for future amnesties or a presidential deferred action.
Forget all that. Only a tiny percentage of summer border surgers have been deported. The majority are reunited with their alien families and the young enrolled in school. Instead of focusing its efforts on deterring future illegal immigration or enforcing existing immigration law, the administration has allocated $9 million in taxpayer dollars to provide legal aid to Central Americans. Because federal law prohibits the government from directly providing financial assistance to aliens, Health and Human Services awarded grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants which in turn is using the money to pay immigration lawyers.
Unfortunately, the White House has taken even more dramatic steps beyond hiring lawyers to represent the aliens. The Obama administration will soon initiate a program that will give refugee status to some young Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadorans while they’re still living in their native countries—basically a method of recruiting refugees.
Under the program, legal immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador currently living in the U.S. could petition that their child relatives be resettled in the U.S. as refugees. In-country processing would screen candidates to determine if they qualify. The presidential memorandum also singled out Cuba, Iraq, Eurasia and the Baltics as locations where the U. S. could evaluate individuals for potential refugee status.
The official explanation for the outreach is that if young Central Americans know there’s a legal path to come to the U.S., they might be deterred from making what could be a dangerous trek north. President Obama instructed the State Department to make 4,000 slots available to Latin Americans and Caribbeans, part of the 2015 total allotment of 70,000 refugees from Africa, East Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Latin America as well as the Caribbean, the Near East and South Asia.
The U.S. accepts more than twice the number of refugees as the rest of the industrialized world combined. Because of chain migration, each newly arrived immigrant creates a follow-on flow of four more refugees, an unsustainable practice that has no end in sight. Since refugees can access welfare on the same basis as U.S. citizens, the program is a global magnet. Considering the worldwide chaos which includes ISIS and the Ebola crisis, U.S. refugee policy should be closely monitored with an eye toward limiting it rather than expanding it.
Critics argue that granting refuge to nationals from countries that harbor terrorist groups or have been linked to life-threatening diseases is unwise and dangerous. The total number of refugees varies annually. Given the state of the world, the administration should consider a dramatic cut instead of setting up shop abroad to actively solicit more.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]