Is Obama pro-immigration?

A persistent myth about President Obama is that he is pro-immigration. Obama’s rhetoric may be pro-immigration, but his actions reveal that he is the most anti-immigration president in generations.

Other than offering tepid rhetorical support for comprehensive immigration reform, Obama has done little to expand legal immigration or offer any plan to legalize illegal immigrants presently in the U.S. Instead, his administration is undertaking a massive crackdown on illegal immigrants and their employers.

Last July, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano outlined the Obama administration’s approach to enforcement of immigration law at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She spent most of her speech bragging about how Obama takes enforcing our nation’s outdated immigration laws more seriously than any president in recent memory.

She detailed the ways in which her department is cracking down on undocumented immigration. The first such effort is electronically and remotely auditing the I-9 records of suspected employers of illegal immigrants. On February 15, Brett Dreyer of the Worksite Enforcement Unit announced that his agency would be investigating 1,000 employers at a time. Their efforts have already resulted in tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants being fired and many U.S. employers being fined.

Napolitano also boasted of the federal government’s repeated success in convincing employers to enroll in E-Verify, an electronic employment verification system that confirms the work eligibility of applicants. According to a recent study by Westat, it fails to identify undocumented workers 54 percent of the time and falsely identifies American citizens as undocumented workers 0.7 percent of the time.

Applied to the over 150,000,000 legal workers in the United States, that error rate would exclude over a million American citizens from legally working — while adding to businesses’ regulatory compliance costs. Bragging about the efficacy of such a system would be funny if so many people’s careers weren’t negatively impacted by it. Only in government would an error rate that would deny over a million people the ability to work be considered a success.

Obama isn’t neglecting border enforcement. Last year, he requested an additional $600 million in supplemental funding to pay for 1,000 more border patrol agents, 160 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigators, 30 more port officers, 20 more K9 teams, and two Predator drones that will be deployed along the border. He also sent 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.

During fiscal year 2010, Obama’s ICE deported a record 390,000 persons. That is up from 298,000 in 2009 and more than double the 2005 number of 180,000. The enormous increase in deportations has occurred primarily under a Democrat president and a Democrat-controlled Congress.

Any opponent of government intervention through Obamacare or cap-and-tax should oppose forcing employers to sign up for the costly E-Verify program. Many proponents of E-Verify stand shoulder to shoulder with those who want a national biometric ID card to make the program more effective.

For many anti-immigration pundits, immigration is the health of the state. But government rules regulating the movement of people, labor, and entrepreneurs have become more effective and destructive to American capitalism over the last decade. President Obama is responsible for most of the increased controls and his opponents and supporters should recognize it.

Alex Nowrasteh is a policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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  • roadfixr

    What a stupid headline. Pro-immigration? Do you mean is he in favor of illegal immigration? Make yourself clear. Just because somebody is against illegals entering our country doesn’t mean they’re against legal immigration. The two are mutually exclusive.

  • CrazyHungarian

    Other than taking Arizona to court for attempting to protect themselves, the only other visible policy that Obama has to curb illegal aliens is to keep the US economy in the toilet.
    Secondarily, immigration is a process that those, like me, who have done so legally are very proud to have done so. To call an illegal alien an immigrant is a politically based lie and an insult to naturalized citizens and legal residents.

    • Dave Gorak

      Well said! Our government is largely responsible for the illegal immigration crisis because it has failed in its responsibility to enforce its own laws that were designed to protect American workers. When the “immigrant lobby” says “jump,” the Congress and the last several presidents have responded with “How high?”


      • CrazyHungarian

        That’s because there is absolutely nothing to keep any human being, illegal or not, from voting in the US. Politicians and the brainless sheep that follow them don’t care about damaging the country, as long as they stay in power.

  • Dave Gorak

    Because President Obama has never sought my advice on immigration, I can’t begin to guess where he stands on this issue. But I know for certain that he isn’t pro-American worker because he continues to permit 8 million illegal aliens to keep their jobs and sanctions the continued issuance of 75,000 work permits to foreigners each month while nearly 25 million of our citizens and legal residents are unable to find full-time employment.

    Dave Gorak
    Executive director
    Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration
    La Valle, WI

  • brittanicus

    The Illegal Immigration War at Home

    The 14th Amendment clarifies that any child born on the soil of the United States, has immediate citizenship and all the benefits that is commanded by that law. Until this law is amended of rescinded the repercussions on this country are immense, spending in the billions of dollars each year. Many pregnant women lie to the Immigration and Customs official at airport terminals or just slip across the US borders, in the dead of night. Illegal immigration has become a controversial issue, as painful as the unemployment issue. After the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act, the American people expected the federal government to enforce the laws, which included severe penalties for businesses that hired illegal workers; instead the US people were financially-raped. Instead millions of Guest Workers received amnesty then left their farming jobs and vanished into the workforce nationwide. Those numbers that received amnesty, snowballed the chain migration, bring in family members that taxpayers now pay.

    Since then-SIX-other furtive amnesties has slipped by public notice and that doesn’t include the importation of approximately 1.5 million legal immigrants annually. By revising the 14th amendment the billions of dollars in education, health care, food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, cash payments and other undisclosed welfare programs could cease.In some States illegal aliens can collect Worker’s compensation and unemployment benefits. All that money could be diversified to senior Citizens, who haven’t received no cost of living payment in two years. Veterans living under bridges or in shelters could be allocated the low income homes that illegal parents allowed to stay, get preference for their offspring born here. All these public services and entitlements have been drawn away from the US workers, who paid into the system since the beginning of their working life. No matter what the pessimists and open border zealots say, every taxpayer would be willing to pay a few cents more to stop the fraudulent-oriented Guest worker programs.

    Taxpayer are being ripped-off by paying for those agricultural laborers when they get sick or injured, as the farmer is not obligated to pay for their children’s education the families health care. This has become a financially vicious circle that will not end, with either the deep entrenched Liberal-Democrats, Republicans or any political entity other than the committed TEA PARTY. The TEA PARTY is growing much faster from the dominant Republicans, and certain politicians are discarding there old parties to join this third party. The Tea Party is secular in definition, non-partisan with open registration for all legal racial, including ethnic majorities and minorities. The Tea Parties core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, Free Market and a Strong National Security. We have great substance in the leadership who are fighting against the old, tired “Business as Usual” political hard liners, who will keep our taxes spiraling and mortgaging our grand children’s futures.

    There will be no compromise with either party who keep the dollars flowing; printing more as our US debt are extended uncontrollably. All elected officials should be on notice that if you are anti-sovereignty and pro-illegal immigrant, they will be removed from office. That will be every Governor, Mayor, Police Chief and city manager. Every form of illegal immigration must be terminated, with businesses accountable and should be heavily fined, assets taken and long prison sentences. Obama’s team also needs to be held accountable, as with prior President George Bush and even Ronald Reagan’s leadership. Unions are also not be held to the same policies of enforcement, even though amongst their membership illegal workers are in their midst. The 1986 travesty sent both legal and illegal immigration, in the tens of millions and beyond into our country. The ultra-leftists are demoralized and the TEA PARTY has rattled their fetid cages, because the TEA PARTY has erased their wide open border ideas. Once the illegal immigrant war is won by building the real double fence and deploying 5000 troops along the border, we can cut-out all the special preferences such as Political Correctness “Press One for English.” If any minority wants to legally come here, they had better learn the national language, which is causing great hardships in our overcrowded schools.

    Extremely intelligent, the highest skilled workers don’t not need public welfare and never will and therefore should get special preferences to immigrate America is a place of opportunity, but the taxpayers are being overtaxed to pay for the foreign nationals who come here to steal the American dream, using child tax credits to profit. Criminals have compromised our tax code, and are thieving millions of dollars, as if the government stays ignorant to this fact. Our prisons are full of criminal aliens, drug dealers, murders, gang members and a complex assortment of nefarious activities. No more amnesties, immigration reform dream acts or anything else. The Illegal immigration issue should be important to every legitimate American, as it affects every-bodies pay check. There should be no exceptions to every county using Secure Communities police fingerprinting and detainment of individuals being processed, along with the new version of E-Verify. The new innovations to E-Verify will make it almost impossible, for any illegal worker to slip past the verification procedure. 287 (g) is still enforce around the country, to question any wrongdoer who is driving a vehicle. These tools must be made permanent and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) can suck a lemon, as he tried to eradicate all these restriction programs. Other than California, Nevada has the highest population of foreign nationals in the country. America is a pressure valve for other corrupt governments for their unemployed and those living in abject poverty.

    Attention: Using veiled threats Acorn and its ilk, threatened the banking industry with boycotts, unless they loosened laws on lending. “Ninja loans” reluctantly given to low income, illegal aliens, with no credit, no assets, which crippled the housing market, were causing the financial crash in the USA. The Leftists will not advertise this explosive revelation; read about it on Google and the consequences. Utahan Americans better be concerned that Obama’s Liberal Progressive Czar Eric holder and the Rat Pack, are discussing giving a waiver to give Utah the right to use the Guest Worker program, that would be highly detrimental to low income, low skilled Citizens and Residents having to be in competition with illegal job seekers. Scrutinize the blue pages in your phone directory for your Senator and Representative to halt this travesty of our laws.

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    • arepeoplepayingattention2012