Politics
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MUNRO: Obama ignores questions about controversial de facto amnesty decision

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Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama declined to take any questions from reporters about his controversial and significant decision to offer a de facto amnesty to at least 800,000 foreigners aged 15 to 30.

The president turned and walked away from reporters at the end of an early afternoon address in the White House’s Rose Garden, even though two reporters called out questions about his decision.

The announcement of the decision comes at a time of record unemployment among low-skilled workers, Hispanics and African-Americans.

For example, less than 50 percent of younger African-Americans have full-time jobs, according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment among Hispanics, youth and African-Americans rose in May, according to the BLS.

Obama justified his immigration decision by saying it is supported by business lobbies.

The president has often used this no-questions strategy when making important or poll-boosting announcements. (VIDEO: Reporter explains his Rose Garden exchange with Obama)

It allows him to deliver his message to his target audience, uncluttered by awkward questions. He speaks smoothly and finishes very rapidly, leaving assertive reporters few chances to ask a question before he reaches the refuge of the Oval Office door.

Sometimes, the president does answer shouted questions. At the end of a March 23 Rose garden event, for example, he answered a shouted question about Trayvon Martin, a Florida youth killed in February.

On Friday The Daily Caller asked a question as his speech appeared to be ending.

The president rebuked the TheDC, but then he declined to answer any other questions when he finished his carefully crafted statement.

He declined to answer TheDC’s shouted question about the impact of his new policy on American workers. He also failed to answer another reporter’s question.

In previous administrations, some reporters used the tactic very effectively. ABC’s Sam Donaldson, for example, was famous for his shouted questions to President George H.W. Bush.

TheDC’s shouted question was described as a heckle by some established outlets.

Obama’s deputy, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, followed the same strategy Friday during a morning telephone press-conference. She gave a short statement and then left the conference while two officials provided not-for-attribution answers to selected reporters’ questions.

The reporters selected to offer questions included established media outlets and Spanish-language outlets. The chosen outlets included the Los Angeles Times, CNN, National Journal, Univision, The New York Times and La Prensa.

The selected reporters did not ask about the controversial impact on American workers.

During the Rose Garden event, Obama depicted the immigrants as Americans except for their legal status.

This pitch blurred the political distinction between Americans and foreigners, and helps him portray the illegal immigrants as deserving of American citizenship.

American citizenship is a highly valued status, because it provides Americans with legal protections worldwide and gives them access to the shared wealth and sympathy of other Americans. Millions of illegal immigrants have risked their lives to win the prize for themselves and their children.

Obama has been under increased pressure from Hispanic lobbies to provide access to citizenship for up to 10 million illegal immigrants, whose arrival will boost the clout of ethnic lobbies.

In general, Democratic politicians have favored easy immigration, despite the impact it has on American workers, who provided the party’s base up until the 1980s.

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