Obama’s Lawless, Job-Killing Immigration Policy

We won’t be hearing many details from the DNC podium this week about President Obama’s immigration policies. The DNC can’t talk about details because it combines two main characteristics of Obama’s presidency – job-killing policies and lawlessness.


President Obama has granted effective amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens under the age of 31.  He has done so deliberately, turning a blind eye to crimes which may have been committed by some of these illegal aliens. And on cue, lawless open-borders advocates have launched a nationwide bus tour titled “No Papers, No Fear” to promote Obama’s policies

The new policy is called deferred action. (See this PJ Rule of Law story about Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s witch hunt against those who blew the whistle to Congress about this policy.)  The new policy borrows from the long-standing policy of “deferred action,” where DHS can exercise its prosecutorial discretion to delay an alien’s removal on a case-by-case basis based on special humanitarian concerns. An example might be an alien who needs urgent medical care.

Obama’s version of deferred action is properly called “no action.” Deferred action is being granted to broad classes of people based on all-encompassing standards, not unique individual circumstances. It applies to an estimated 1.7 million illegal aliens.  If an illegal alien is younger than 31, and says that he satisfies any number of options, such as working toward a high school education, he gets to stay. The rules don’t even force the illegal aliens to actually prove in an immigration court that this is the case in some instances. It is a word-of-mouth, get-out-of-jail-free card when they are picked up by the Border Patrol.


The administration claims the program is designed as a temporary measure to achieve the goals of the DREAM Act, including allowing young people who came here as young children and were good students who obtained a college degree or entered military service to remain in the United States. While this is a laudable goal, the truth is that the Obama program applies much more broadly.

It applies not only to college graduates, not only to high school graduates, not only to those who have passed a high school equivalency test (GED), but to anyone under 31 who is even enrolled in a GED program. Obviously, an illegal immigrant could enroll in a GED class just to get this new immigration status.

The policy also takes jobs from 22 million unemployed Americans.  It vastly expands the number of immigrants who can work legally in the United States.  Deferred action, which the administration claims its program is authorized by, is listed as a situation by regulations where aliens can get work authorization in the United States if they can show “economic necessity,” which basically means living at or below the poverty line. Yet under  Obama’s plan, applicants are required to apply for work authorization at the same time they apply for the new program.  Thus, illegal immigrants will be given work authorization while they get deferred status.


Contrary to what some say, many of the 22 million unemployed Americans would work in the jobs taken by the non-Americans.

While tens of thousands seek to come to American through the legal process, only aliens who are in the United States illegally are eligible for Obama’s new policy.  If an immigrant meets all of the criteria, such as coming to the United States before age 16, but was in legal status, he cannot benefit from the program.  Thus, the program rewards illegal aliens but punishes those who come to the United States legally. It is another example of rewarding illegal immigration at the expense of legal immigration. Once again, Obama has taken the side of the lawless at the expense of the law abiding.

Not only does the program reward lawless behavior, the program itself is lawless.

Federal law does not allow the president to exclude broad classes of aliens from the immigration laws, just as it does not allow the president to exclude broad classes of people from the tax laws.  Kings and czars held the power to exempt favored classes from the law. Presidents do not.

The old version of deferred action applies to aliens who have been placed in immigration proceedings to be removed.  The Obama version is much broader and is available to immigrants who have never been in proceedings. In other words, Obama is extending the benefit to people who haven’t even been caught yet and sent into proceedings. This pulls the rug out from law enforcement officials.


No wonder law enforcement officials are fighting back.  The program is so radical and lawless that career employees of DHS recently sued DHS Secretary Napolitano. They rightfully argue that the new policy forces them to exceed their authority and violate immigration law or face insubordination charges from their superiors if they do not. The administration claims it is simply giving its employees prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion is the province of prosecutors, not Border Patrol agents. As the president of the ICE union explained, “The administration’s new policies do not provide officers new options or increased flexibility, but instead orders officers not to enforce laws.”

This must be the change we heard so much about in 2008.

Add to this toxic mix the launch of the bus tour by open-borders radicals — “No Papers, No Fear.”  Their website features names and photos of people who are in the United States illegally and now have nothing to fear and no intention of leaving.  Miguel Guerra is one.  “We’re no longer afraid to say we are undocumented,” Guerra declared.

And if any law-abiding citizens raise any questions about it, beware: the bus tour is “holding rallies and confronting anti-Latino prejudice along the way.”

There was a time in America where nearly all of us believed in the rule of law. Law was an agreed-upon set of norms that both Democrats and Republicans accepted as standards of behavior. America was founded on this principle not because it was easy, but because the alternative was worse.  History provides examples of countries where lawlessness, especially lawlessness endorsed by the powerful, leads to outcomes none of us would want, not even Miguel Guerra.  The job-killing policies of the Obama years are the most visible tragedy of the lost hope of 2008. But the corrosion of the rule of law by these educated people in power to satisfy a lawless demographic may be the hardest to reverse.



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