For some Latinos, it is more than they could have hoped for. The Obama administration will stop deportation of illegal aliens if they are in school, have a family member in the military, are responsible for a family member’s care, or are elderly. Most criminal aliens can stay except “convicted felons.” Work permits will be available—meaning fewer jobs for U.S. jobless citizens.
But is this fairness or backdoor amnesty with unadulterated politics at its roots? What to do about illegal aliens is certain to be a major theme in the 2012 election.
The Hispanic vote has been one of the support structures for Barack Obama. But support is slipping, according to recent polling. And now that Texas Governor Rick Perry increasingly appears the Republican front-runner for president, the Hispanic vote is by no means in Obama’s corner. Perry won 38 percent of the Latinos in his 2010 race for Governor. He also supports in-state tuition for illegal immigrants who are high school graduates, even though he opposed the federal version of the pro-Hispanic DREAM Act.
Republicans generally stand for stricter enforcement and a closed border, with perhaps a temporary residence, but then a return home and application for citizenship, as required for any other foreigner.
The new administration plan for dealing with 300,000 illegal aliens currently involved in deportation proceedings “is blatant political pandering in an election cycle at the expense of American citizens.” That’s how an Investor’s Business Daily editorial described it.
No, insisted Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. It won’t be a free pass to citizenship. “This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,” she said. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felonies.” And supposedly send them home.
Congress has been deadlocked over the illegal immigration issue for years, as more aliens keep streaming in. Taxpayers are shelling out about $113 billion a year to support 11 million illegal immigrants, according to a current study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
For months, Obama said he didn’t have specific authority to halt deportations. He said that he was required to follow the laws as Congress had written them.
But then, there came a reversal. Homeland Security’s purported watchdog, Janet Napolitano, sent letters to Congress Aug. 18. She wrote that she did, by golly, have the discretion to set “priorities.” She said her department, along with the ever-trustworthy Department of Justice, will review all 300,000 cases of those who have been apprehended, but not yet ordered out of the U.S. to see who comes under the new liberal guidelines.
And what about those who had been deported “mistakenly” because they qualified for the Napolitano-described amnesty? Would agents be sent to Mexico to find them and retrieve them?
That would seem to be only fair under this new policy, wouldn’t it?
Proceedings at an administration task force hearing on deportation backfired, according to a STLtoday.com column earlier this month. The task force was set up to calm tensions over the new deportation policy. Immigrant, labor and church groups walked out partway through the hearing, banging drums and denouncing the hearing as a “sham” aimed at glossing over problems with the program known as “Secure Communities.”
Secure Communities began in 2008. In the program, the FBI shared fingerprints of those arrested by state and local law enforcement people with federal authorities so they could check for immigration law violations.
Immigrant groups marched out of hearings in Los Angeles and Chicago this month calling for an end to the Secure Communities program. The Obama administration since June has tried to focus on the deportation strategy for those convicted of serious crimes. Secure Communities was intended to expand across the country by 2013. Simultaneously, deportation proceedings would be cancelled for those who were not criminals.
A 21-member Secure Communities task force was created in June by John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in response to discontent from cities and states. But a letter from more than 100 immigrant rights organizations called for the resignation of the task force, branding it a “rogue agency.”
“Inconsistent federal guidelines on the program have created confusion,” with some jurisdictions given more latitude than others, a Washington Post story reported in August. Immigration advocates have never liked it. So, John Morton notified state governors the Secure Communities program would be terminated.
In recent years, Obama has called on Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration bill to put illegals on the pathway to citizenship. The DREAM Act, which calls for giving college students and military enlistees brought here as children a route to citizenship, has gained some popularity. But it has failed to get through Congress. Some opponents have insisted that securing the Mexican-U.S. border is top priority. Obama has said the Republicans won’t be happy until a moat with alligators is built along the boarder. What a hilarious president we have.
Meanwhile, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), described as a non-partisan organization, has assembled a raft of data to alert Americans as to the cost of illegal immigrants.
“National anti-boarder groups,” FAIR said, “with government funds, are working” to undermine current immigration laws and reward aliens with “contrived ‘civil rights’” for successfully evading deportation aided by a “sympathetic mainstream media.”
Our political leaders are refusing “to acknowledge the huge costs of illegal immigration” and “put politics ahead of all other considerations.” The FAIR agenda also includes “reminding Americans that 7 million jobs in our nation today are held by illegal aliens.”
California is hit with an estimated $21.8 billion in annual expenditures for illegal immigrants. New York spends $9.5 billion each year. “What’s unknown to most Americans is the fact that the tally also runs over a billion dollars annually for states such as Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. Even out-of-the-way Vermont spends $63 million annually on illegal aliens.”
Obama, with the whiff of 2012 in his nostrils, meanwhile continues to promise those promoting illegal immigration laws to “fix” the system to their liking.