Republicans supporting a massive legalization program as part of immigration “reform” must have blinders on. They must not see the perverted way the Obama administration simply refuses to enforce existing immigration laws — damning any promised “get tough” enforcement policy included in any immigration deal.
The Republican advocates of immigration reform argue that America should secure the border, legalize at least 11 million illegal immigrants, and vigorously enforce the immigration laws in the future. This goal — to start over while at the same time preventing future illegal immigration once and for all — has great appeal.
There’s only one problem — we have a president with a demonstrated record of ignoring “get tough” immigration laws already on the books.
A short journey thought the Obama administration’s lawless unwillingness to enforce existing “get tough” policies shows how laughable it is for Republicans to put any more faith in future promises to police the border.
The last few years of the Bush administration saw executive-branch lawyers getting tough with those caught illegally in the country. That’s all stopped. Immigration officers now must turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants except those caught right at a border crossing or those who fit very narrow criteria for enforcement, including terrorists and serious criminals. The definition of “serious” criminals isn’t very broad either.
The Obama administration broadened policies granting Department of Homeland Security agents and attorneys “prosecutorial discretion” not to enforce the immigration laws against illegal immigrants. When the Obama political appointees realized that career DHS agents and attorneys actually wanted to uphold their oaths to enforce the law, the administration took the “discretion” out of “prosecutorial discretion.”
Now, career DHS agents and attorneys are generally forbidden to enforce the immigration laws except as to shockingly narrow types of illegal aliens such as demonstrably violent criminals.
It is no wonder morale among these DHS employees is among the lowest in the federal government. When hardworking lawyers enter a profession to help the country and enforce the law, having a lawless president tell them not enforce it is demoralizing.
This is a side effect of the radical left’s policy permeation of the Obama administration. Those who respect the Rule of Law must witness firsthand its dismantling by ideological overseers.
The Obama administration also has made clear to these enforcers of the law that it does not even want to know who is in the United States illegally unless the immigrants fit very narrow criteria. See no evil, hear no evil, anger no racial interest groups.
One example is the 287(g) program. The immigration overseers didn’t want state and local officials telling the feds about most of the illegal immigrants who are in their states and localities. The Justice Department even sued states that notified the Department of Homeland Security of illegal immigrants in their jails under state laws, even though federal law already permitted them to so notify DHS.
Justice Department lawyers in the Civil Division who signed off on these lawless cases should be ashamed of themselves. But sadly, shame is in short supply in Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
The administration wants cover if the state eventually releases an illegal alien who goes forth and commits a crime, or even kills someone, like a nun.
No wonder Chief Justice John Roberts said during the Supreme Court oral argument in the case against Arizona last year: “It seems to me the federal government just doesn’t want to know who is here illegally.”
The administration is also suing states that want to help it enforce the immigration laws, while no suits follow against “sanctuary cities” that hold themselves out as safe havens for illegal aliens.
If that doesn’t make it clear to Republicans what the core ideological worldview of the Obama administration is, nothing will.
Republicans who support legalization say it must be contingent on securing the borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when their visas expire. Yet, in spite of Congress’s huge investment of resources in recent years, the federal government is not even close to achieving either of these goals.
Requiring a secure border in legislation will mean nothing in the real world. The modern Democrat Party views law as a nuisance, something to be worked around, ignored, or twisted in a fashion to match ideological ends. Republicans who don’t realize that haven’t been paying attention.
Pay attention to the administration’s arguments that nothing needs to be legislated regarding border security. They are plainly articulating the administration’s worldview. What will change when some Republicans add words to a bill, words which will be ignored?
The Obama administration only gives lip service to greater border security by calling for minor increases in manpower and technology at the border.
Can Republicans really be bought off so cheaply by adding meaningless words to legislation about border security? Congress cannot effectively force the executive branch to enforce the laws it passes, and certainly not in the area of immigration. So the price paid by the Democrats for immigration reform will be negligible.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program proves my point. This is for those who came to the United States before they were adults and are now under the age of 31. The administration has approved over 150,000 applications under the program.
Guess how many applications the Obama administration has denied? Not one.
Immigration agents report to me that they are being forced by their political leadership to look the other way against those who simply claim they qualify for it. It makes it plain the rancid, lawless approach of the officials in charge. Why would the situation improve by adding some words to a bill?
If a bill passes this year, the Obama administration will enforce the laws only against a select few just as they are doing now. It is part of a public-relations ruse: pluck out a few enforcement examples to conceal a lawless disregard for immigration statutes.
The last mass amnesty in 1986 was effective in legalizing millions (including many who were not eligible) but entirely ineffective in addressing illegal immigration. Yet the same promises to enforce border security were made in 1986. The problem of illegal immigration only grew worse.
Despite the best of intentions, Republican proponents of amnesty made more acceptable by promises of border security today will see only half of the deal implemented, the amnesty part. Except this time the risk is existential for the Republican Party. The Democrats know most of these 14 million new citizens will be voting for Democrats. The irony will be that the Republican rush to compromise with the lawless may mean the end of the GOP’s long-term electoral relevance.