On Thursday, with the Congress out on vacation and the media and public preoccupied with the dismal economy and an approaching weekend, the White House announced a new immigration policy. It had been rumored to be coming down the pike several months ago by conservative adversaries. Then the shoe dropped, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, announcing that “non-dangerous” immigrants will be allowed to remain in the U. S., the priority shifting to deporting criminals. Some 300,000 pending cases involving illegals will be reviewed and those absolved allowed to apply for work permits. Certainly this change represents a political plus for an embattled president, who has been losing voter support and could use the shoring up of the Latino vote as he heads towards next year’s elections. For the nation, I believe the policy does an injury with ongoing consequences.
1. Immigration reform should be legislated by the Congress. Yes, the Congress has been reluctant to act and just recently voted down the Dream Act. That doesn’t justify the administration circumventing the Congress to get its way. Had the Congress not acted at the last hour to lift the debt ceiling, it’s conceivable the President might have invoked the 14th Amendment to get around Congress. I think you see where I’m going. Where does it end? Policy shouldn’t be made by fiat.
2. Some argue in favor of this change. Principally, why should young people who have come here early, some serving in our military; others now in college, be sent out of the only country they really know? Truth is, not all illegals came here as youngsters. Anyway, if illegals are inconvenienced, then this is their fault for jumping the queue. We do have an immigration process that allows some 500,000 Mexicans, for example, to enter our country legally each year. It’s unfair, as some of them have said, to let those who’ve jumped the line now stay.
3. And then there’s our unsettling economy, possibly about to go back into recession. Even when legal immigrants come here, a third end up on public support. Many choose to reside in states like California and New York, states riddled with huge public debt. Recently, California governor, Jerry Brown granted in-state tuition rights to illegals, this in the most financially troubled state in the country. The story repeats itself elsewhere amidst the political pandering, the public be damned.
4. Some argue that immigration reform is what the public wants. Thus, this is a good move on the part of the Obama administration. Yes, most of us do want immigration reform, but one not involving massive amnesty for an estimated 11 to 20 million undocumented. Think about the discrepancy in those numbers. We don’t even know how many illegals are in our country. I fault the Republicans as well as Democrats, however, as several years ago there was a bill in Congress to lower the number of immigrants admitted and employ criteria resembling Canada’s point system in exchange for amnesty. Borders would be enforced. Then again, maybe the Republicans were on to something—that administration promises were simply no more than means to an end. Enforce the borders now, and we’ll talk of reform. As is, the promised wall has yet to be completed, employers who hire illegals aren’t scrutinized or are granted minimal fines for violations if caught, and the government has steered away from mandating the very reliable E-Verify procedure to ascertain eligibility for employment.
5. The fundamental flaw in the administration’s new backdoor amnesty approach is that it’s likely to exacerbate the flow of illegals from all over the world into the U.S. After all, unless you get into serious trouble with the law, you’re safe. Hey, bring the family! By the way, when we talk of amnesty, we forget that family members can then come too. 11 million, the lesser figure, suddenly swells to 40 million residents at the very least, and you want to give these people work permits as well when millions of own people can’t find work? Suddenly people who don’t belong here are their competitors. 9.1 percent of our working population is currently out-of-work; more so our Black brothers and sisters at 16 percent. I tell you, we’re playing with social dynamite.
6. By the way, our biggest problem isn’t with Latin Americans wading across the Rio Grande. It’s with those overstaying their visas. The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy will soon be upon us. 18 of its 19 perpetrators had overstayed their visas. Ten years later, we still don’t have a handle on overstayed visas as I reported in an earlier post. But then, who the hell cares? Certainly not the Obama administration.