The Obama administration is determined to continue mocking the separation of powers concept contained in the Constitution. Thus, the president is contemplating another unilateral move with regard to illegal immigration, allowing some illegal aliens brought here as children to serve in the United States military.
The move is an outgrowth of another unilateral decision made by Obama, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA provided work permits and deferred action from deportation to approximately 500,000 younger illegals who met certain eligibility criteria. The Defense Department “continues to examine the laws and policies that address the eligibility of noncitizens to serve in the military in order to determine if and how our programs could be applied to DACA recipients,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a statement.
The move is yet another effort to push the envelope on comprehensive immigration reform cherished by the administration, the Democratic Party and a substantial number of Republicans. Several members from both parties hardly need pushing. Efforts were made to attach immigrant-related measures to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) being debated this week. Reps. Joaquín Castro (D-TX) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) submitted an amendment aimed at allowing DACA beneficiaries, better known as “Dreamers,” to attend military academies. “The administration’s Deferred Action policy allowed many of these Dreamers to live, study, and work in this country without the fear of deportation,” Castro said in a statement about his amendment. “However, we must ensure that the doors of opportunity are not closed to them as they strive to get ahead.”
A trio of House Representatives submitted two different amendments aimed at allowing illegal aliens to join the military. Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) proposal also included a subsection that would grant “permanent residency” status to qualified enlistees. Reps.Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) filed a measure on Monday called the Enlist Act that would also allow enlistees to become eligible for citizenship. It was co-sponsored 50 House members, 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans. “There is no better way to show your patriotism, your commitment, your sacrifice and the willingness to earn that citizenship than being willing to serve in our military,” Denham asserted.
Apparently it has escaped Denham and others that a better way to demonstrate one’s commitment to the nation might be respecting its laws. Laws that include going to the back of the line of those attempting to immigrate here legally.
Fortunately, in an early Wednesday morning vote, the House Rules Committee blocked the immigrant-related amendments to the NDAA. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) explained the Enlist Act would not be part of the NDAA debate. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was of like mind—temporarily. “We have supported it in the past, but trying to do this on the National Defense Authorization bill seems to be an inappropriate place to do it,” Boehner explained.
Rep. Castro was upset. ”I’m disappointed that expanding opportunity to all of our students to the U.S military academies is not allowed to be part of the discussion about our nation’s defense readiness,” he said in a statement.
Castro’s disappointment pales in comparison to that of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). In testimony on Monday before the Senate Appropriation’s Defense Subcommittee on the same subject, Gutierrez insisted that “our society must work around the fact that our immigration laws are thirty years out-of-date and the military is no exception.” Toward the end of his testimony, he doubled down. “The fact that we have an estimated 11 million or more people living and working here underground is a serious national problem that must be resolved,” he declared. “We have as a society rightly concluded that driving out 11 million people and their families is bad policy. But leaving the status quo is no solution, either. In the meantime, every institution in America, including our military, must work around the inability of our federal government and the U.S. House of Representatives to fix our immigration system.”
In other words, a United States congressman who took an oath to support and defend the laws of this nation is advocating for overt and widespread lawlessness. In a nation where the rule of law still mattered, calling for “every institution in America” to disobey the law this would be strongly condemned. In this nation, “noble” agendas now trump “trivial” legalities.
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats revealed their latest noble agenda. After meeting with pro-immigration advocates at the Capitol, they announced their intention to rally around one idea, as in focusing all of their efforts on recalcitrant House Republicans from now until the beginning of August when the Senate ends their current session. “We talked about doing everything we could to get the House to act before August recess,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) following the meeting. “If they don’t act, you know, then the president is going to have no choice but to act on his own. But we’d all prefer that there be a legislative solution.”
Those who attended the meeting were primarily leftist pro-immigration factions, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Democratic members of the Senate Gang of Eight that crafted the bill currently languishing in the House. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reportedly made the most persuasive case for waiting until August, in the hopes that legislative reform, with the full force of law behind it, would be enacted, rather than the kind of temporary relief implemented by the president.
Nonetheless not everyone was on board. Some at the meeting insisted that genuine movement on the issue must be seen by the Fourth of July recess, or early July. If not they expect “Senate Democratic leadership to be hand-in-hand with us completely on a broad relief both in terms of enforcement reforms and affirmative relief,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director of civic engagement and immigration at the National Council of La Raza, echoed that assertion. “I think the pressure is going to continue mounting on all sides,” she said. “We are going to continue pressuring the White House. Whenever there’s delay on the issue of immigration, it hasn’t really served us well.”
Unsurprisingly, “us” doesn’t include millions of Americans who will be ill-served, including the 47 percent of long-term unemployed Americans who say they’ve “completely given up on looking for a job,” or the 60 percent who say looking for work has been harder than expected, according to a Harris Poll. Nor are pro-immigration advocates the least bit concerned with a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report revealing that average wages “would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024,” and “slightly raise the unemployment rate through 2020.”
All that currently matters to the coalition of leftist activists and Democrats, who envision a permanent leftist hegemony, and like-minded Republicans, along with the Chamber of Commerce and various technology firms who envision an endless supply of cheap labor, is being able to sell this monstrosity to an American public disguised as bipartisan cooperation, rather than the sellout of American exceptionalism it truly represents.
What little resistance remains among Republicans was addressed by Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “Speaker Boehner has been very clear about this: He wants to fix America’s broken immigration system,” said Steel, “But no one trusts the White House to enforce the law as written.”
Including illegals themselves. A “crisis” condition has been declared in Texas, where so many undocumented and unaccompanied children from Central America have snuck into the country that the Border Patrol cannot find enough shelter to house them all. It is part of an effort by immigrant smugglers to take advantage of a U.S. law that prohibits children from being deported unless they are from Mexico. Children from everywhere else must be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services, increasing their chances to stay in the country—and making it possible that their parents and other relatives can join them.
Astoundingly, more than 60,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross into Texas this year alone. According to the report, many of them are being driven by the thought of getting DREAM Act amnesty, even though “it may not pass” and “only covers children who came here with their illegal immigrant parents, not alone, and children have to have entered the U.S. before 2012 to be eligible for the program.”
Really? The law was unilaterally enacted by the president, absent any input from Congress. Is there even a scintilla of doubt it could easily be “adjusted” when Democrat and media-fueled cries to do so “for the children” fill news cycle after news cycle?
A short editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune gets to the meat of such contempt for the law. It notes that a lack of enforcement in exchange for granting amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal aliens in 1986 has resulted in four times that number of illegals living in America today. It also poses the ultimate question Americans must ponder, following the passage of comprehensive immigration reform. “With the lack of will to enforce the law, what is the plan for the next 12 million illegal immigrants?” it asks.
Sadly, it’s an optimistic question. An additional 12 million illegal aliens attempting to enter the country in the hopes that still another round of amnesty will pass might be a modest total. That’s because Americans tend to think of illegal immigration as a problem almost wholly associated with nations to our south. The world is a far bigger place, and an American “welcome mat”—comprised of self-interested constituencies coupled with widespread contempt for the law—suggests we may be dealing with a far larger and more widespread assault on our borders in the future. And that’s assuming the word “border” retains any meaning at all in America’s future.
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