Smith: Obama’s Immigration Plan Is Bad for Nation

Posted June 20, 2012 at 4:29pm

President Barack Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is a breach of faith with the American people, to say nothing of how it ignores our immigration laws.

Throughout the past three years, the president has continually placed illegal immigrants and partisan politics ahead of the American people by refusing to enforce the law.

Amnesty has horrible consequences for Americans looking for jobs. The president claims that it is available only to children, but the fact is that illegal immigrants up to the age of 30 are eligible — not exactly children.

Once illegal immigrants are granted deferred action under the new policy, they can apply for a work permit. And this administration routinely grants work authorization to illegal immigrants 90 percent of the time. With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, this major policy shift will further exacerbate their challenges.

The president’s amnesty also will hurt American taxpayers because it is a magnet for fraud and will encourage more illegal immigration. Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children or are under the age of 30, and the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true. And many parents will bring or smuggle their children illegally to the United States hoping to benefit from this amnesty.

Illegal immigration already costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. The president’s new policy forces Americans to continue picking up the tab for illegal immigrants.

Amnesty also blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy and violates the president’s oath to uphold the laws of this land. Congress has the constitutional authority to determine our nation’s immigration laws. And less than two years ago, when Obama had large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the DREAM Act failed to be passed by Congress and was largely opposed by the American people.

While the president does have some authority to grant reprieve to a limited number of illegal immigrants, he has exceeded his constitutional limit. Executive branch discretionary authority is meant to be applied on a case-by-case basis, not to entire categories of illegal immigrants.

But Obama’s record shows that he has a pattern of abusing executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain and work in the United States.

Last November, the Obama administration moved forward with its plan to implement back door amnesty through administrative action. Under the new deportation guidelines, Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys review all incoming and most pending cases before an immigration court. To date, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have benefited from this policy.

Earlier this year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security outlined their plan to ignore a rule that requires illegal immigrants to leave the United States before they can ask the federal government to waive a law that bans them from legally returning here for several years.

While the waiver of this rule is sometimes allowed under current law, it is applied only on a case-by-case basis, not to entire categories of illegal immigrants. Obama and his administration are bending these long-established rules by applying them to potentially millions of illegal immigrants.

And under this administration, worksite enforcement has plummeted by 70 percent. This means illegal immigrants are able to keep jobs while millions of Americans are on the unemployment rolls.

Because of Obama’s failed record, broken promises and pattern of ignoring the rule of law, the American people have lost confidence in their commander in chief. As a result, it’s looking more likely that even the president might lose his job in this economy when Americans go to the polls this November.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.