By Marlin Thompson ~
In his iconic 1971 song, American Pie, Don McLean wrote the line “The day the music died”. The day the music died for the United States of America was June 15, 2012. On that day, President Barack Obama announced that his administration would violate the Constitution and stop deporting young undocumented individuals who match certain criteria previously proposed under the DREAM ACT. On August 15, 2012, the same day that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications under the Obama administration’s new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Thousands of individuals submitted applications for the new program. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued an executive order preventing the state of Arizona from issuing driver’s licenses and public benefits to young undocumented individuals who receive deferred status and work authorization under the new program. In late August 2012, ten U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents sued Janet Napolitano, saying the directive forces them to break the law and ignore their duties.
In a primetime address on November 20, 2012, President Obama made his sales pitch to the American people for a series of immigration executive actions he signed on November 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The key to his immigration policy is the creation of one new amnesty program and the expansion of another. Pew estimates that 3.5 million current illegal immigrants will qualify for the program. Obama is also expanding the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty program. Previously only those illegal immigrants who were born before 1981 and entered the U.S. as a minor before 2007 were eligible for benefits. Now all illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as a minor before 2010 will be eligible for amnesty. Like the parents above, DACA recipients will also get work permits, Social Security numbers, and driver’s licenses. Pew estimates that 235,000 illegal immigrants will gain eligibility for benefits through this program expansion.
Is this legal? Obama didn’t think so. As recently as this spring, and on more than 20 other occasions, Obama said he could not rewrite immigration law by executive action.
Specifically, this March he told Univision, “But what I’ve said in the past remains true, which is until Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do. The reason that these deportations are taking place is, Congress said, ‘you have to enforce these laws.’ They fund the hiring of officials at the department that’s charged with enforcing. And I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore, you know, any of the other laws that are on the books. More damning, in 2011, he told the National Council of La Raza, “Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
Will courts let Obama get away with this? They already have. The harms from the illegal amnesty programs are just too diffuse for any one litigant to establish standing in federal court.If courts can’t stop Obama in time, who can? Only Congress can stop it by de-funding it. Congress can attach a rider to any appropriations bill forbidding USCIS from using any federal funds, including those collected through fees, for the purpose of carrying out his amnesty programs. Will Congress stop him? Some in Congress, like Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), have said they will use the power over the purse to de-fund Obama’s amnesty.
How would the amnesty effect legal immigrants? After Obama enacted DACA, wait times for visas for legal immigrants tripled from 5 months to 15. He essentially allowed illegal immigrants to jump in line in front of law-abiding legal immigrants. Since he has requested no new funding from Congress to pay for his new amnesty, and since his new amnesty is three times larger than his last amnesty, legal immigrants should not only expect to head to the back of the line again, but they should also expect much longer delays. Obama claims all these amnestied immigrants will get background checks, Is that true? If history is any guide, no. Obama said illegal immigrants will be held accountable by paying taxes. Is that true?His new amnesty lets illegal immigrants off the hook by not paying any fines or penalties for breaking the law. Why is he doing it? There are a couple reasons. The illegal immigrants are a new class of individuals dependent on the Federal Government for their livelihood. But more important to him, he wants to grant them citizenship so he will have a huge new block of Democrat voters, guaranteeing the Republicans will never again win a Presidential election. That is why the music died for the United States of America on June 15, 2012.
Marlin Thompson submits regular articles to PA Pundits International about topics of current cultural and political interest from a conservative perspective. Marlin is a Mechanical Engineer, and is now a semi-retired owner of small company designing and building custom automation machinery.