Obama, Our Illegal Immigration President
We have entered a new era when it comes to illegal immigration. We can thank the Obama administration.
President Obama recently directed the Department of Homeland Security to cease all efforts to deport individuals between the ages of 16 and 30 who had lived in the United States for 5 years, had come to this country as children, and had either served in the military or graduated high school. In addition, these individuals will be issued papers enabling them to enter the job market and look for work.
Naturally, President Obama justified this action as "the right thing to do for the American people." But is that true? Is it the right thing to do for millions of our own American young people, some of whom are graduating college with five- or six-figure student loan debt, and who cannot find work? Is it the right thing to do for those in the African-American and Latino-American communities, where unemployment is even higher than the national average of 8.2 percent?
Naturally, one could answer that the 800,000 individuals who would be getting working papers is a relatively small number and would not seriously impact the labor market as a whole. However, put another way, President Obama may as well have issued an invitation to under-30 foreigners from all over the world to enter our country and look for work and/or mayhem.
The fact is that there is no realistic way to verify the conditions of this program. How will the applicants prove that they have lived here for five years? With an electric bill? Or a rent receipt? One imagines a harried government worker, advised not to "create trouble" with embarrassing questions, stamping the documents he is given robotically, all the while praying that he is not the one to give the go-ahead to some lunatic who wants to blow up the new Freedom Tower.
President Obama's response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona's SB 1070 also shows that we have turned the page on the past.
In 1996, Congress passed legislation creating Program 287(g), which allows local police to contact the federal government and learn the immigration status of those individuals who are detained in the course of routine police work. But now, apparently in a fit of anger over the Supreme Court's upholding the key section of SB 1070, the Obama administration has unilaterally canceled its participation in Program 287(g) and said it will not even answer calls from Arizona police. Furthermore, as if to throw salt in the wound, the administration created a 24/7 hotline for people to use to report civil rights complaints if any Arizona policemen has the temerity to ask any detainee about his or her citizenship status.
There was a time not too long ago when we could blame greedy employers looking for cheap labor for 12 million illegal immigrants living in our country. Politicians could be given somewhat of a pass as they turned a blind eye to the situation or claimed that they were powerless to do anything about it. Now all that is past. By his actions over the past weeks, we have seen President Obama become a powerful advocate for illegal immigration. We can truly say that he has become our illegal immigration president.