Obama's Immigration Policies: Instrumentalities of Change

Displacement of American workers, suppression of wages and importation of new voters.

Prior to World War II the U.S. Department of Labor was charged with enforcing and administering our immigration laws.  It was understood that flooding the U.S. labor pool with foreign workers would force American workers to compete with those foreign workers who would be willing to work for much lower wages.  This would depress wages and cost many Americans their jobs.

The enforcement of our immigration laws played an important role in creating America’s unusually large and upwardly mobile middle class, which in turn, gave rise to “The American Dream.”

The authority for the enforcement and administration of our immigration laws was shifted to the Department of Justice during the Second World War when concerns shifted to enemy spies and saboteurs entering the United States.

For our enemies, going behind the “enemy lines” meant the borders of the United States whether they existed along our northern or southern borders, along our tens of thousands of miles of meandering coastline or even by entering the United States through international airports.

In the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 the responsibility for the enforcement of our immigration laws was shifted from the Department of Justice to the newly created Department of Homeland Security- once again reaffirming the nexus between immigration and national security.  However, under DHS the enforcement of our immigration laws was hobbled by splitting the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) into several unwieldy components and blending those components with other agencies.

For the most part, two of these components, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (Customs and Border Protection) were headed up by managers who primarily had been part of the former U.S. Customs Service and had little or no experience in enforcing immigration laws.  Consequently they did not understand just how effective immigration law enforcement can be to protect America and Americans from foreign criminal organizations and international terrorist organizations.

They certainly had no real understanding of how effective these laws can be to protecting not only the lives but the livelihoods of beleaguered American workers.

I testified a number of Congressional hearings on the impact that the creation of the DHS had on the effective enforcement of our immigration laws.  On March 10, 2005 I testified at a hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic, “Interior Immigration Enforcement Resources.”

On May 5th of that year I testified at a hearing conducted by that same subcommittee on the topic, “New “Dual Missions” Of The Immigration Enforcement Agencies.”

I was extremely concerned about the de-emphasis of immigration law enforcement by DHS- the new bureaucratic behemoth that was supposed to protect the homeland.

However, since taking office nearly 7 years ago, the Obama administration acted in unprecedented ways to undermine the enforcement of our immigration laws through the use of outrageous executive orders that encouraged a human tsunami of aspiring illegal aliens, from around the world, to descend on our nation- confident that once in the United States, they would literally be “home free.”

It is not unreasonable for law enforcement agencies to marshal limited resources to focus the bulk of their efforts on going after law violators who pose the most serious threats to public safety and national security.  However the administration’s claimed policies of not seeking to arrest and deport (remove) illegal aliens who have no convictions for serious crimes, enable millions of illegal aliens to work in the United States.  The administration’s unilateral use of supposed “prosecutorial discretion” under DACA (Deferred Action- Childhood Arrival) and other programs, exacerbated the situation by providing hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with lawful status and employment authorization- creating still more unfair competition for desperate American workers.

It must be noted that for years this administration has also demonstrated an abject disregard for public safety by releasing tens of thousands of criminal aliens- even as Obama now contemplates issuing executive orders to restrict gun ownership- purportedly out of a concern for gun-related crimes.

On December 22, 2016 ICE issued a press release, “DHS releases end of fiscal year 2015 statistics” that provides irrefutable insight into the abject lack of immigration law enforcement that undermines national security and the ability of hard-working Americans to find decent jobs. 

Consider this paragraph from that press release:

In FY 2015, ICE removed or returned 235,413 individuals. Of this total, 165,935 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 69,478 were apprehended in the interior of the United States and the vast majority were convicted criminals who fell within ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.

On December 2, 2015 the Washington Times infuriatingly reported, “ICE gives away $113 million, says not enough illegal immigrants to deport.”  That article focused on the testimony of the Director of ICE, Sarah Saldana, who conceded that although there may be as many as 15 million illegal aliens present in the United States, that because of a number of factors including administration policies, ICE had returned $113 million in appropriated funds that were supposed to be used to arrest and deport illegal aliens.

Here is how this article began:

Even as they were pleading poverty in the federal courts, immigration officials gave away $113 million this year, with Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Sarah R. Saldana testifying to Congress on Wednesday that they didn’t need the money because there weren’t enough illegal immigrants to hold or deport.

Ms. Saldana, who runs U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the chief deportation agency, also said estimates of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. could be as high as 15 million. That is much more than the prevailing estimates of 11 million to 12 million, and it suggests a potentially bigger problem than the government has acknowledged.

“Probably every illegal alien could be removed. But that’s 12 million people — or 15 million, depending on what estimate you look at,” Ms. Saldana told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I don’t think anybody who thinks that we can go about, rounding up people, with a $6.5 billion budget, as generous as that is, and as grateful as I am for it, believes that we can go and do that under that budget. There are reasons to make wise and smart and effective immigration priorities.”

For Obama, the presence of millions of illegal aliens does not present a problem- but an opportunity.  Those aliens are his instruments of change that includes shrinking the middle class and ultimately increasing the number of new voters.

Bad as Obama’s immigration policies have been, incredibly, Hillary Clinton has promised she would surpass the current administration in issuing executive orders to enable illegal aliens to remain in the United States and gain a pathway to United States citizenship.

On May 5, 2015 ABC News reported, “Hillary Clinton Vows to Push Past Obama on Immigration.”

Here is an excerpt from that article:

Latino leaders consulting her campaign have told ABC News that Clinton is looking for a way to clearly contrast herself with Republican presidential candidates by embracing the full path to citizenship rather than proposing a second class of Americans who can work in the United States but not enjoy the protection of citizenship.

Clinton made the argument that comprehensive immigration reform “strengthens families, strengthens our economy, and strengthens our country.”

“That’s why we can’t wait any longer. We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.”

Clinton also took an aggressive stance against Republicans.

“Now this is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side,” she said. “Make no mistakes. Today not a single Republican candidate - announced or potential - is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one.”

“When they talk about ‘legal status’ that is code for second-class status,” she added.

She added that her time as Secretary of State showed her the difference of countries that include “second-class status.”

“They never feel they belong or have allegiance…that is a recipe for divisiveness and even disintegration… we are a nation of immigrants,” she said. “Those who say, we can do reform but not a path to citizenship, would be fundamentally undermining what has made American unique… not just in my view the right thing to do for America, if you compare us to other countries.”

It is delusional for a candidate for the presidency to claim requiring legal status for aliens is code for “second-class status.”  Furthermore, no other country admits more lawful immigrants than does the United States.  Furthermore, no country provides citizenship to illegal aliens.

It is time to remind Hillary that there most certainly is a distinction to be made where adherence to our immigration laws is concerned.  The difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar!

What made America unique and, indeed great, was the guiding principle that our nation is a nation of laws.  Immigration laws are essential for national security and the well-being of Americans.