The best that can be said about President Barack Obama’s recent announcement suspending deportation for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants is that there is less there than meets the eye. Here is what Mr. Obama said:
“Now here is the thing. We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.
“Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.”
In additional remarks Mr. Obama stated his new policy does not authorize those illegal immigrant to qualify for welfare benefits, Obamacare or Medicaid. But then again Mr. Obama made categorical emphatic commitments regarding Obamacare that turned out to be intentional lies.
The reason that I say there is less here than meets the eye is that virtually everything Mr. Obama declared to be his new policy has been his old policy all along. The only difference is that this makes the policy de jure and not just de facto – in other words he had made his policy official instead of just sub rosa. Mr. Obama’s Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department do virtually nothing in terms of seeking out and deporting illegal immigrants unless they are involved in a crime – a crime other than violating the immigration laws. Yes, they turn back tens of thousands of illegal immigrants at the border and count that as deportation but for those here – particularly those here for more than five years – they do virtually nothing. And worse yet, many major metropolitan areas, including Portland, have adopted a “sanctuary” policy that prohibits local law enforcement from informing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) even when illegals are arrested for criminal violations.
And while Mr. Obama may assert that his new policy will not allow these illegal immigrants to qualify for welfare benefits that assumes that the state agencies charged with administering welfare programs will enforce existing laws regarding residency qualifications – they don’t. In fact they either don’t ask or don’t verify residency. A fact that is so widely known that immigrant advocates – many financed by taxpayer funds – tell the illegal immigrants to lie about their residency status.
Although the illegal immigrants may not qualify directly for Medicaid, Medicaid funds are used to reimburse hospitals for “emergency room services” that are provided to them as required by the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA). Again immigrant advocates tell illegal immigrants to use the hospital emergency rooms for all of their medical needs – everything from the common cold to pregnancy care to real injuries.
So while what Mr. Obama stated might be true as a matter of law, it is patently false as actually applied. In reality, currently the federal government is not deporting illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for five years. It is providing them access to welfare benefits by refusing to inquire or verify their status. And is providing access to Medicaid indirectly through EMTALA. So much for the truth – again – Mr. Obama.
But that is not where the danger lies for illegal immigrants. The danger lies in believing Mr. Obama when he says: “You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.” As matters currently stand, those illegal immigrants living in “the shadows” are relatively safe. With no state or federal programs actively seeking to identify and deport them, their status via benign neglect ensures that they will remain in the United States. The trade off is that jobs requiring Social Security numbers (meaning good jobs) are closed to them and they are forced to work as day laborers, house cleaners and other types of jobs where pay is in cash and no inquiries are made.
But should the illegal immigrants take advantage of Mr. Obama’s very questionable action, they will be forced to register, to get a Social Security number, and obtain a “temporary work permit” – all means of identifying and tracking their identity and location. They will be “out of the shadows” and in to the spotlight should those challenging the legality of Mr. Obama’s executive order be successful. The government will know their names, their workplace and their residences.
It is my belief that Mr. Obama has clearly exceeded his authority and that the legal challenges will be successful once those suing make it by the “standings” requirement to pursue those challenges. When that happens, there is no returning to the shadows and the illegal immigrants who trusted in the promises of Mr. Obama will be in jeopardy. At the very least they will lose their jobs because their Social Security certification will be revoked. And their anonymity will be gone. Like others who have believed Mr. Obama and have trusted in his promises, the damage to illegal immigrants will be irreparable – there will be no “do-overs.”
But Mr. Obama doesn’t really care. He is practicing the art of animus – pitting Black against White, Brown against White, poor against rich, women against men. Mr. Obama has proven to be the most polarizing American president in modern times. He revels in promoting class envy. There is not a single instance in which he as acted to heal divisions, but rather constantly to exploit them.
As a leader he is morally bankrupt and he tears at the fabric of America’s great melting pot each and every day. He needs to go.
Mr. Obama, please leave – and take Joe with you.