By Joe Guzzardi
May 18, 2014
At a recent White House briefing, President Obama returned to his default position on illegal alien deportations. As Obama has said many times before, his hands are tied. Even if he wanted to halt deporting aliens, claimed Obama, Congress would have to approve such a measure.
Unfortunately for Americans who think the Constitution matters and that the president should honor his sworn vow to uphold it, Obama’s actions belie his words. Although the Hispanic lobby falsely insists that under Obama deportations have reached a record 2 million, the truth is that border “catch and release” returns are now added to internal removals to arrive at the inflated figure. Previously, returns and removals were calculated separately.
Advocates are heartened that the president has directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to make immigration enforcement more “humane.” But since enforcement is already non-existent, a more compassionate federal immigration policy would be impossible. John Sandweg, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that for what he called “run-of-the-mill” illegal immigrants, the odds of getting deported are “close to zero.” Illegal immigrants’ likelihood of being returned home will be further reduced if, as rumored, the administration guts Secure Communities which allows immigration officers to check detainees’ fingerprints against a federal database to see if the individual has prior immigration violations.
Nevertheless, the administration is considering ways to formalize its non-deportation policy by specifically excluding established families with American citizen children as well as previously deported aliens who have returned to the U.S. a second time, a felony. As forgiving as President Obama’s immigration principles are and apparently will continue to be, activists want more—an amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens that would include legal status, social security cards and work permits even though the long-term unemployment rate among Americans of all age, education, occupation, industry, gender, racial and ethnic groups is between 3 and 4 times higher than six years ago.
While the White House’s immigration pontificating rolled on, the Center for Immigration Studies published its analysis which found that last year the administration released 36,000 criminal aliens back into the general public. Included were murderers, rapists, and kidnappers. This scandalous news represents the latest and most blatant in the administration’s five-year long record of disregarding immigration law that started in 2009 when Deputy Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Esther Olavarria announced that her department would no longer carry out workplace raids and audits.
Not all the blame for immigration chaos can be pinned on President Obama. Republican resistance to the White House’s barefaced disregard of the law has been, at best, token. While House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte have issued sound bite criticisms of President Obama’s increasingly lax enforcement coupled with his ever-louder demands for amnesty, they’ve also told funders they too favor immigration “reform.”
President Obama defends his indefensible abdication of his oath of office by saying that the immigration system “isn’t fair” to workers, businesses or law enforcement agencies. That’s his opinion. But only Congress can change immigration laws. Obama insists that he’s not a king, but his unilateral refusal to enforce immigration statutes is a monarch-like governing style inconsistent with democracy.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]