President Obama was in Las Vegas on Friday to sign an executive order that grants conditional amnesty to nearly five million illegal immigrants. Not long ago, however, he said that such unilateral executive action would be unconstitutional. So much for the Constitution.
By taking unilateral action on illegal immigration the president is ruining any chance of reaching a deal with congressional Republicans on so-called “comprehensive immigration reform.” Although a bipartisan immigration reform bill passed the Senate last year, House Republicans rejected it because it didn’t give top priority to tough border enforcement measures. They simply don’t trust President Obama and his outgoing Attorney General, Eric Holder, who believe in selective law enforcement. That is, they decide which immigration laws to enforce, and which laws to ignore.
A number of Senate Republicans supported the president’s comprehensive immigration reform package last year, and the GOP majority in the new Congress might have been willing to go along with certain parts of that legislation if Obama hadn’t torpedoed the legislative process. For example, they might have agreed not to deport the illegal parents of children who are American citizens because they were born here. Congress could require those parents to pay a fine, learn English and go to the back of the citizenship line. Another possible point of agreement might be some sort of guest worker program similar to the old “Bracero” program, in which immigrants could receive work permits as long as they promised to go home after the work ended.
A recent editorial in the Des Moines (Iowa) Register spoke for millions of us on the illegal immigration issue. “This country needs comprehensive immigration reform, there’s no question about that,” the editorial opined, “but (unilateral) action has the very real potential to undermine the public’s faith in our government.” Does it ever, especially in view of the results of the midterm elections, which repudiated President Obama and his “progressive” policies.
Nevertheless, illegal immigration advocates who believe in “open borders” want President Obama to issue a blanket amnesty to more than 11 million undocumented residents. Fortunately, that’s never going to happen but the president does plan to grant conditional amnesty to more than 4 million undocumented residents next month. A blanket amnesty would be similar to President Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, which opened the floodgates for millions more illegal immigrants to our shores. Every time we relax immigration laws, illegal immigrants flood across our borders as they did earlier this year when AG Holder looked the other way as tens of thousands of “undocumented” Central American children crossed our porous southern border with Mexico. Most of them are now going to American schools at taxpayer expense. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 18 percent of Nevada’s kindergarten students have at least one illegal parent.
Open borders proponents always tell us undocumented residents only want to work for the betterment of their families. That’s mostly true but they never tell us about undocumented residents who are involved in drug trafficking or other serious crimes, like wildlife poaching right here in rural Nevada. I refer to the recent arrests of four illegal immigrants for slaughtering dozens of deer and migratory birds in northeastern Nevada. That’s the other face of illegal immigration.
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired diplomat.