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.
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.
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.