The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the German Chancellery on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Berlin.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Obama runs immigration debate from behind the scenes

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama and his staff are playing a hidden but central role in designing the Senate’s immigration bill, which would bring 46 million immigrants into the country over the next 20 years.

A report in Friday’s New York Times provided a view inside a congressional war room where top administration officials approved or denied amendments to the complex 1,077-page bill.

“When Republican amendments are filed and we are trying to decide, ‘Can we accept this? Can we accept this without some modifications?’ they are the ones who tell us, ‘This is quite doable,’” a Democratic Senate leadership aide told the newspaper.

“We are deeply, deeply engaged.” Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told the NY Times. Munoz is a for top leader at the Latino ethnic lobby, The National Council of La Raza.

Obama also intervened to kill a proposal by Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn that would have curbed the amnesty until illegal immigration across the U.S,-Mexico border was under 90-percent control.

“At the height of the talks Tuesday, the president weighed in with [N.Y. Sen. Chuck] Schumer from Air Force One while traveling through Europe … [and] told Schumer that the 90 percent trigger was unacceptable,” according to a report in Politico.

“Schumer said they were trying to find a different benchmark, and Obama told him to keep working toward an agreement,”the report said.

Obama’s toughness worked: Two Republican senators dropped their demand for border “triggers” in exchange for Senate approval for up to $30 billion in promised spending, and for construction of 700 miles of border fencing that has been required by a previous immigration reform law.

The deal was offered by Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven.

The resulting amendment has not been released, but sources say the bill will allow — but not provide, or guarantee — the extra spending, which is opposed by man Democratic legislators and advocates.

Over the last few months, the administration has tried to downplay Obama’s role in designing and pushing the immigration rewrite

However, Obama promised a very ambitious progressive agenda since even before he was elected, telling supporters shortly before the 2008 election that “we’re five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America… together we will change this country.”

In 2009, Obama extended government influence over the auto and energy sectors. In 2010, Obama extended government over the health-care sector and the student loan business. The 2013 immigration bill promises to extend government control over the labor market and companies’ hiring practices.

In contrast, GOP senators tell The Daily Caller that they have not calculated how the immigration bill will impact even their future electoral chances, despite the unpopularity of the bill among GOP and independent voters.

If it becomes law, the bill would triple the inflow of immigrants to roughly 30 million over the next 10 years. Over 20 years, an estimated 46 million people would arrive or be legalized, providing much more labor and customers to business groups.  (RELATED: CBO says immigration bill aids investors, not wage earners)

Roughly 90 percent of the immigrants will be low-skilled, and will not earn enough money to pay for the routine taxpayer aid provided to all low-skilled Americans by taxpayers. (RELATED: Senate immigration bill leaves hidden $400 billion cost for taxpayers)

The bill also doubles the inflow of university-trained guest workers, who will compete for jobs against the American professionals, who now pay a large slice of overall taxes.

The bill would also provide many new legal protections for illegal immigrants, making it more difficult and more expensive for any additional border security forces to detain and deport illegals.

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office said the doubled guest worker provisions of the new bill would spur some forms of illegal immigration. The additional border security amendment would have no impact on that form of illegal immigration.

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