President Barack Obama believes that many foreigners have a right to immigrate into the United States, regardless of what Americans prefer, say immigration experts.
The evidence emerged from the president’s mouth on Labor Day, as Obama was urging his supporters to vote in November, despite the struggling economy.
“Cynicism is a bad choice… Hope is what gives young people the strength to march for women’s rights, and worker’s rights, and civil rights, and voting rights, and gay rights and immigration rights,” Obama told union supporters gathered Sept. 1 in Milwaukee, Wisc.
That “immigration rights” phrase “implies that some people have the right to move here,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center of Immigration Studies.
“It is supposed to be Congress [which decides who can immigrate] but what the president seems to be saying is that ‘If migrants themselves decides to immigrate, and if they are here long enough, we’ll let them stay,’” he said.
That number of foreigners who could gain from the idea could be very large.
Roughly 12 million illegals are living in the country, and Obama has backed plans to provide them with an amnesty. More than 130,000 Central Americans have crossed the U.S. border since last October, and have been allowed by Obama to file for Green Cards instead of being immediately repatriated.
His deputies are also using various legal means to offer asylum or Green Cards to new groups of foreigners, including foreigners who have already been deported. (RELATED: Obama’s Deputies Allow Deported Illegals Back Into The US)
At least 138 million foreigners want to live in the United States, according to a March 2013 report by Gallup.
Krikorian’s response was echoed — in a progressive format — by David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and the former general counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Obama’s “’Immigration rights’ [phrase] carries with it political, social and cultural significance while [the familiar term] ‘immigrants’ rights’ is a more direct reference to redress of rights through the courts,” said Leopold.
“Obama’s statement is significant because if he truly views “immigration rights” with the same reverence as he does ‘civil rights’ he can neither politically nor morally justify further delay in the use of his lawful authority to make the immigration system work better until Congress acts,” he said.
The “use of lawful authority” cited by Leopold refers to reports that Obama will grant two-year residency permits and work permits to several million of the 12 million illegals already living in the United States.
That’s very unpopular among voters, and Obama seems to be backing away rapidly from his June promise to act by the end of summer.
But Leopold isn’t giving up hope of imminent action. “The President’s reference to ‘immigration rights’ together with the other epic American civil liberties movements suggests executive action is imminent,” Leopold said.
“After all, how can Mr. Obama postpone protecting any right?” he added.
Obama’s primary spokesman, Josh Earnest, declined to explain the new idea of “immigration rights” during the Sept. 2 press conference.
“While I haven’t talked to him about that element of his remarks, I’d suspect that he is alluding to… the President’s determination to act unilaterally within the confines of the law to try to address so many of the problems that are created by our broken immigration system,” said Earnest.
“That is an element of presidential decision-making that the President feels strongly about… it’s been a priority for him since he took office, and continues to be a priority now,” Earnest said, without explaining what the term actually means.
The term, however, may be merely a throwaway line for use during election campaigns.
Obama and his speechwriters have developed a series of meaningless terms designed to show that he opposes many of the most painful features of his economy, including stalled wages and high unemployment. “You know what, Milwaukee, I didn’t run for President to double down on top-down economics,” Obama said on Monday. “I ran for President because I believed in bottom-up economics. I believed in middle-out economics,” he said.
“I placed a bet on you. I placed a bet on America’s workers,” Obama added, shortly before he suggested that foreigners have the right to compete for the jobs held by American workers.
Krikorian’s dour view was echoed by Jan Ting, a law professor at Temple University and a former immigration officials in President George H. W. Bush’s Department of Justice.
“If you can stick in the term ‘reform’ or ‘rights,’ you’re more likely to get people to support” what you want, he told TheDC.
The term “is an attempt to capture that kind of political support, but as the American people realize what’s we’re talking about, [they will see] it is exalting people who have violated immigration laws, who are competing against Americans for jobs and who are holding down wages,” he said.
“We need to communicate that is not a good thing and is against the best interests of Americans,” Ting continued.
But the plan also shows Obama’s willingness to steamroll Americans’ rights and the rule of law. “I think the president throughout his approach to immigration has been trying to squeeze out the legislative branch,” in Congress, he said. “It is an attempt to raise the ‘Imperial Presidency’ to a higher level, to say ‘I don’t need Congress to enact an amnesty, I can do it all by myself,’” he said.
“That’s a very dangerous precedent, and this ‘immigration rights’ is part of it,” Ting finished.