Obama’s Amnesty

I am not happy about Obama making his speech about amnesty and defying the GOP newly elected Congress to do anything about it. However, there is less here than it seems.

First: And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.

king obama

I don’t believe him but the GOP could do worse than assume this is true. The next steps would be to take actions assuming he was not lying.

Obama clearly wanted to make himself look like the compassionate actor in this debate, and Republicans the heartless, cruel nativists. Instead of trying to fight that battle, make Obama own it and bypass it for the real battle the GOP wants to win on border security. Make Democrats vote against a border security bill, and make Obama veto one while his own amnesty remains in place.

Not everybody is willing to accept this as a phony gesture which I think it is.

When President Obama announces that he will be suspending laws to bless the illegal presence of millions of foreigners in the United States, he will have adopted the most basic philosophy of John C. Calhoun: some laws can be tossed aside because his ends justify the lawlessness.

I don’t trust Obama’s intent but I think he is a fool and did not plan this correctly, or else chickened out. There is more interesting comment at Powerline today.

Procedurally what happens is an undocumented person applies for ‘deferred action’ and then after receiving this ‘quasi-status’ – he/she is eligible for work authorization.

See the last paragraph on page 4 of this key memo: “Applicants must file the requisite applications for deferred action pursuant to the new criteria described above. Applicants must also submit biometrics for USCIS to conduct background checks similar to the background check that is required for DACA applicants. Each person who applies for deferred action pursuant to the criteria above shall also be eligible to apply for work authorization for the period of deferred action, pursuant to my authority to grant such authorization reflected in section 274A(h)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

I still think the Republicans can trump this with real reform. Then they can send a bipartisan bill to Obama and see if he vetoes it. That Powerline post also emphasizes that Silicone Valley is pushing this and that explains their support of Obama.

How many Senate Democrats would be willing to sustain that veto before the 2016 election? I’m betting not too many. But Republicans have a perfect opportunity to turn the debate in that direction now and force Obama and his shrinking number of allies on Capitol Hill to go on the record.

I think an honest border (and visa reform) fence bill would break the logjam. There was already a border fence bill passed in 2006.

It was immediately abandoned by the new Congress elected in 2006. Some fence did get built and had had some effect.

By April 2009 Homeland Security had erected about 613 miles of new pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers along the southwest border from California to Texas.[5]

Construction stopped at that point. The fence has been quite effective in California.

Since construction of the wall began “apprehensions, a rough proxy for measuring illegal crossings, were down 18% at the southern border in 2008 and Border Patrol attributes some of that to the fence.

The fence is not the only solution but it is an indicator of seriousness that is missing in, for examine, Obama’s speech or the democrats legislation.

The other large problem is the immigrant who overstays and does not renew a visa. The US visa system is severely corrupted. The 9/11 hijackers came into the country on legal visas.

I’ve been warning that our biggest illegal immigration concern should be visa overstays, not the border since we published “No Coyote Needed: U.S. Visas Still an Easy Ticket in Developing Countries” five years ago. All of the problems identified in that report have intensified since 2008. We still have no system to track those who enter the country on short term visas; we still allow applicants to arrive as “tourists” and then adjust visa status so that they never have to go home; we still routinely give tourists a six-month stay on arrival and then let them extend for up to 18 months; and we still have shockingly high issuance rates in a variety of developing countries around the world. It should be no surprise that a larger and larger share of our illegal immigrant population arrives legally, most with tourist visas.

The estimate of numbers is high. It may be 40% of all illegals.

as a former Foreign Service officer who has interviewed thousands of visa applicants, I can also confirm that in most developing countries, the vast majority of tourist visa applicants aren’t tourists in the classic sense. (Remember that people who live in wealthy countries are on the visa waiver program and do not need a tourist visa to visit.)

Visa corruption is also significant. A retired diplomat tells one story of such fraud by a member of the Consulate staff.

The main lesson, I think, is that Obama’s speech was just that, a speech. The three year work permit will not solve any serious problems for the immigrants. They have to register and then wait to see if the policy changes and they have just identified themselves for the ICE raid. A better plan is to close the border, fix the visa system and then see who is eligible for legalization.

14 thoughts on “Obama’s Amnesty”

  1. Nice write up. I am wondering what Boener and mcConnell are discussing right now. I do think – a lot of good bills – bills that Harry Reid would never let a Senate Vote – bills forcing Obama to veto – will expose him for a fraud.

    If I were a Democrat and survived the bloodbath I would feel that I owed Obama nothing – he being the cause of it.

  2. I just don’t think E-Verify solves the problem. What about all the workers who are illegal and who will be difficult to replace for the employer ?

    I am all for making US citizens first in line for jobs but there are serious issues to be considered. The 1965 bill changed everything and led to the problems of chain migration. I know a German plumber who waited years and finally got an immigrant visa in a lottery. His wife was a nurse-midwife and they had 100,000 Euros in savings but could not get a visa. He said he wanted to come here because he could never start his own business in Germany. He now has a plumbing business in Tucson.

    Legal immigration also needs to be fixed. The INS has opposed fixing legal immigration because they NEED the annual fees !

  3. I don’t mean to let Hussein off the hook. He deserves all the blowback and unintended consequences that he is going to get. And, if this means that the Democrat party is out of power for a generation, that is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

    But, Is this stunt going to have any real world consequences? Why should an illegal alien in his right mind sign up for this deal. Signing up is a confession that he is here illegally. If the next President cancels the deal and starts to deport illegals, he will have a nice list of who they are and where to find them.

    Second, the illegal doesn’t get a green card or citizenship, he gets a work permit for a limited period of time. If he has a job, he doesn’t get anything new other than tax deductions.

    Third, the deal appears to require the illegal to pay his back taxes. If he wasn’t paying taxes, that might require more cash than he can scrape up. If he was paying taxes it doesn’t help.

    I am willing to bet that very few illegals will sign up, unless the deal is significantly sweetened by Hussein. But if he gets a lot of pushback for the initial deal, he might be reluctant to do that.

    I think the Republicans should object to this bit of executive mummery, and I think there should be plenty of denunciations of it, But, substantively, it might be a bit less than we feared.

  4. There are some real world consequences.

    First of all, based on the actual history of the illegal immigration problem; not one of the “requirements” for the amnesty will be enforced. None.

    Second, despite the mention of barring and/or removing criminals; the day after the decree the Department of Homeland Security announced that sex crimes, drug crimes, vehicular crimes, and other felonies will NOT be grounds for deportation. Illegal invaders have an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card now, and for the foreseeable future.

    Third, there is as we write another wave of hundreds of thousands of illegal invaders coming to the unguarded border; not only from Mexico and Central America, but also now from Haiti and Africa.

    Fourth, while in theory there will be no health benefits, every one of the foreign invaders will get free care, paid for by us, at ER’s at will.

    In passing, the claim that they have to have been here 5 years is interesting. What proof are they going to present? Their receipts for the money they sent back to Mexico by Western Union? Or the income that they have to pay taxes on? You know that the IRS is not going to stop attacking conservatives long enough to check out any claim of no income by an invader.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, now that Obama has the precedent of ruling by decree and ignoring the Constitution with no opposition from the Institutional Republicans [and no, I do not expect them to do anything, if only because they want Amnesty and Permanent Open Borders as much as the Democrats do albeit for different reasons] this will not be the last decree in defiance of the Constitution. Far from it.

    If we do not stuff this Emperor back into the box he came in, we have lost the Republic.

    Subotai Bahadur

  5. Regarding proof of residency, about ten or twelve years ago the Mexican consulate in Chicago started giving out ID cards to anyone regardless of status. I remember they were lined up outside for blocks for several weeks. They came from all over. It allowed many to open bank accounts among other things.

  6. It’s a little, tiny, act of protest but I’m registering independent before the next election if the Republican Party doesn’t come out strong against the (ignorant and grasping) Democratic Party.

    Really, my R. registration is, I feel, nominal at this point…the only benefit is being able to vote in primaries in my overwhelmingly R. area. Not giving up much but I may feel better about myself.

  7. For a president who is famed for half measures, Thursday’s announcement was too clever by half.

    Now about half of all illegals can be legal, and about half will not.

    So what will the reaction be of all involved? Put aside the fact that the people who can be legal now have to wrestle with the bureaucracy, which for people who do not speak English (and in many cases do not speak Spanish) as their native tongue will be hard and in many cases the bureaucracy will be ignored.

    Say you have a restaurant with 10 illegals working in the back. Now half can be legal and half will not. Will the owner of that business start to pay the half who can now be legal on the books? (with the increase in costs) Will the legal half now demand higher wages? Or will the owner simply fire the legals and hire more illegals?
    Will the now newly legal workers even want to work for min wage in a restaurant? Now they can work at Walmart or McDonald s for the same pay but with much better working conditions.

    As for the republicans, they are in the driver seat if they want to be. Any immigration reform deal was going to involve making some legal to stay and deporting others. The question was what would that breakdown be? 90% stay 10% deport or flip that around. Now the republicans can start with letting the 4.7 million stay (assuming certain conditions) and pushing to deport the remaining 5 million.

  8. One more point about eVerify.

    Since the 1996 welfare reform act all employers are supposed to send a list electronically to the state with the name SS # of every new hire monthly. This is then checked in a database to see if that new hire owes child support and if they do, send a deduction notice to the employer. In Florida I see a turnaround of less than a month for this to happen.

    Also every quarter, every business has to send to both the Federal and State governments the names, SS #s and wages of every employee. That huge mass of data (submitted electronically) can be checked or “eVerified” without any additional work on the part of the employer.

    IIRC, in the early 2000s the SS admin did just that and sent out “no match” letters to many employers. One was a gubernatorial candidate for CA Governor, (Whitman?) whose cleaning lady was the subject of this letter. That “scandal” was a part of her defeat.

    The original plan of “no match” letters was to send them out over a series of years. In the 1st year or two they were to be reminders to correct errors. Things such as a tax payer with the name Mike on the 941 as opposed to Michael or some other simple innocent reasons to have a name and SS # not match.

    Then after a few years fines were to be levied against employers for each no match, eventually inspectors would be sent to companies with large numbers of no matches or with employees whose SS#s were being used all around the country.

    The no match letter program was quietly ended a year or two after it was started. Too successful…

    The computing power to do this would be less that what my computer uses when it down loads a video…

    Enforcement can happen, but there are many who do not want any enforcement.

    Let’s face it, cheap labor is great to get, but horrible to have to be….

  9. ” I assume that’s what you mean by “Silicone Valley”.

    Actually, the Obama administration has gotten heavy support from billionaires like The Google founders and, especially, Facebook founder, Chris Hughes.

    Mr. Hughes, 24, was one of four founders of Facebook. In early 2007, he left the company to work in Chicago on Senator Obama’s new-media campaign. Leaving behind his company at such a critical time would appear to require some cognitive dissonance: political campaigns, after all, are built on handshakes and persuasion, not computer servers, and Mr. Hughes has watched, sometimes ruefully, as Facebook has marketed new products that he helped develop.

    I’m sure it was worth it. Facebook has thousands of illegals working there. Just ask them.

    And They want more.

    Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is back with two new ads promoting amnesty and mass immigration. They were created by his groups FWD.us and Americans for a Conservative Direction, and will reportedly run on national cable television as part of a $250,000 advertisement campaign aimed at congressional Republicans. One ad is nothing more than an emotional appeal for amnesty that is focused entirely on a younger illegal alien who claims to have entered illegally at age five and achieved a 3.9 GPA in high school. The other ad, analyzed below, is riddled with inaccuracies, some of which were spread in earlier Zuckerberg ads that we have analyzed here and here. The transcript of the new ad (in bold) is analyzed below:

    Crony capitalism is very lucrative.

  10. It is only reasonable that if illegal immigrants get amnesty then US citizens who live abroad should also get amnesty from the IRS, FBI, NSA, and every other part of US governments.

Comments are closed.