**Posted by Phineas
His “reboot” speech on the economy yesterday having turned out to be a miserable flop, President Obama will unveil today Plan B: pander shamelessly to an important ethnic group:
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of a growing Latino electorate that has opposed administration deportation policies.
And from the the New York Post:
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a US high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.
The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods. It tracks closely to a proposal offered by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as an alternative to the DREAM Act.
To borrow a famous phrase, let me be clear: regardless of what euphemism the administration chooses, this is nothing more or less than an amnesty.
It’s also a cheap, cynical political move by a cheap, cynical Chicago pol who sees his reelection chances shrinking. (When a Democratic president has to worry about Michigan…) It’s the Alinskyite community organizer in action: take a controversial issue and propose a “solution” that sets group against group, guaranteeing polarization on the issue. It’s purpose is two-fold: both groups become intransigent, preventing a compromise that would weaken your influence, and “your” group welds to your side, because they’ll think you’re with them against the other guy.
When, really, all you care about is keeping their support for your own goals. In this case, that means votes in November.
If that were the end of it, this would be nothing more than the pathetic, desperate gesture of an increasingly pathetic, desperate president. But this coming announcement does real harm:
Standing on its own, the measures are not a bad compromise on one area of the immigration problem: children brought here as minors by their parents. Call me a RINO, but I’ve never seen how justice or American national interest is served by punishing children for the decisions of their parents.
By bypassing the legislative process and cutting out the elected representatives of the people, Obama is killing any chance for a compromise based on consensus, such as that proposed by Senator Rubio. (1) This is the same type of mistake (2) as that made by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, when it used judicial fiat to quash the political process. Obama’s selfish use of executive authority has thrown a gigantic monkey wrench into the democratic process of compromise and consensus that was starting to get underway in Congress, effectively jamming it.
Obama also has shown, once again, his contempt for the constitutional order. While the president is granted broad (often too broad) regulatory authority by Congress, this kind of major change to the law clearly is the purview of the legislature. While presidents can and should refuse to enforce laws they believe unconstitutional, constitutionality is not what’s being argued here — Obama simply wants to change the law for his own benefit. And he’ll do it on his own, thank you.
That’s called “usurpation.” Maybe even “tyranny.”
It’s also, let’s face it, another “Look! Squirrel!” moment, designed to set us all yelling at each other while we forget about Obama’s pathetic record on the economy. Well played, Barack. This one might actually work.
This decision leaves open a question: What about the parents of these now-immune children? Are they granted immunity? Are they still subject to deportation? (Yeah, let’s see how that plays on the nightly news. (3) )
And it’s not without risks, as Bryan Preston points out:
The unemployment rate among young Americans stands well above the national average of 8.2%. Unemployment among black Americans stands officially at about 16%. The president’s policy plays one constituency that he sorely needs, Hispanic voters, against another that supported him in 2008 but has soured on him since, younger voters, and may hurt black voters looking for work as well.
On top of that, how will the unions react , given they’re already annoyed with Obama over Keystone and his failure to stand with them in Wisconsin? SEIU will probably be fine, but UAW and AFL-CIO? The latter two aren’t so keen on competition from immigrant labor. And let’s extend it a bit to areas hard-hit in the current economy: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina… Do we really think out-of-work or under-employed workers in those areas will be thrilled with this news? That now they’ll have more competitors for jobs?
Obama may buy some votes with this trick, but I wonder if, in November, he’ll discover the price was too high.
(1) And, gee, he just happens to steal the thunder from an up-and-coming conservative Hispanic senator. What a coincidence.
(2) Actually, in Obama’s case it wasn’t a mistake at all. It was the intent. The community organizer wants polarization.
(3) Gee, this couldn’t be something Obama wants, could it? Nah…
UPDATE: A statement from Senator Rubio:
“There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.
“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.”
UPDATE II: Well, well, well. It seems that our president is, with this order, doing exactly what he said he couldn’t do just last year:
Faced by a young person who disproved his claim about his Administration’s treatment of these young people, the President now seemed to concede that students and young people eligible for the DREAM Act are being deported and says that it’s not his responsibility to change that: “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don’t have a choice about that. That’s part of my job,” he said. When Ramos asked a follow-up question about granting formal administrative relief to undocumented youth, Obama was even more forceful: “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
Are we surprised? No. Everything, including the rule of law, is subordinate to his reelection needs.
UPDATE III: President Thin-Skin does not like being questioned:
“This is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship, it is not a permanent fix,” the president said before a person, reportedly Neil Munro of The Daily Caller, interjected with a question.
“Excuse me, sir; it’s not time for questions, sir,” said Obama, who didn’t take any questions at the announcement. “I’m not asking for an argument.”
“These kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments,” the president continued, adding that Congress still needed to take DREAM Act action because the order is just a “stop-gap measure.”
“It makes no sense to expel talented young persons who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.”
As Obama walked away from the podium, a voice called out, “What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?”
Touchy, ain’t he?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)