President Barack Obama will unilaterally change immigration rules — and perhaps grant work-permits to millions of illegals — once Americans have voted in the November election, White House officials told reporters Sept. 6.
“Obama had no specific timeline to act, but that he still would take his executive steps before the end of the year,” the officials said.
Earlier, Obama said he would act by “the end of summer” to change immigration rules. That was widely interpreted as a promise to provide work-permits to millions of illegal immigrants, which was a high-risk move just before the midterm election.
A Sept. 6 email sent to favored media outlets, however, hinted the post-election presidential action may fall far short of amnesty, and might only consist of sending more resources to manage the inflow of Central American migrants across the Texas border.
“Because he wants to do this in a way that’s sustainable, the President will take action on immigration before the end of the year. For example, we have seen how Republicans have fought hard to exploit the humanitarian situation at the Rio Grande Valley,” said the email.
If there’s no unilateral amnesty by the end of the year, then voters and a few populist groups — aided by new media outlets, such as Drudge — will have entirely defeated the almost $2 billion push for an amnesty by progressives, the Chamber of Commerce, Silicon valley, the established media, the Democratic Party and the GOP establishment.
It will also mark the failure of Obama to achieve his top second-term priority.
Polls show widespread public opposition, including among single women, young voters and Latinos, to Obama’s immigration policies and to his much-touted unilateral amnesty. Roughly 12 million illegals are living in the United States, and Obama has already reduced enforcement so much that fewer than 0.5 percent were deported in 2013. In 2012 and 2013, he awarded work permits to half a million younger illegals, who are competing for scarce jobs against young Americans, including African-Americans and Latinos.
Critics of Obama’s unpopular immigration policies say the Obama’s vague promise of work-permits — despite congressional disapproval — to several million of the illegal immigrants will spur an election debate about the economic costs and benefits to middle-class Americans of large-scale immigration.
“Obama is tossing the GOP a big fat slow pitch,” said radio host Laura Ingraham, who helped unseat GOP Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor over his immigration policy. “Will they smash it out of the park or swing & miss?”
“Make no mistake: President Obama plans to grant amnesty, it’s just that he will cynically wait until after the election so as not to harm Senate Democrats like [Sen.] Jeanne Shaheen,” said a statement from Scott Brown, the GOP senatorial candidate in New Hampshire.
“The people of New Hampshire have a choice: they can re-elect Senator Shaheen and send President Obama a blank check, or they can have a real check and balance by supporting me,” said Brown, who has drawn level with Shaheen by highlighting her support for Obama’s immigration polices.
Currently, the government awards Green Cards to one million people per year, and provides work-permits to another 700,000 blue-collar and white-collar guest workers. Those arrivals sharply increase the supply of new labor above the 4 million Americans who turn 18 per year, even though roughly 10 million Americans have given up looking for work since 2009.
In June 2013, all Democratic senators — including Shaheen — voted for an immigration bill that would have doubled the inflow of foreign workers and immigrants seeking blue-collar and white-collar jobs.
But politicians’ support for greater immigration is very unpopular.
The recent inflow of roughly 130,000 Central Americans across the Texas border helped lower public support for Obama’s immigration policies, down to 18 percent strong support and 57 percent strong opposition, according to a July poll by AP.
White House officials acknowledged the immigration issue is dangerous to Democrats. “Two White House officials said Obama concluded that circumventing Congress through executive actions on immigration during the campaign would politicize the issue and hurt future efforts to pass a broad overhaul,” reported AP.
“Officials said [Obama’s] aides realized that if Obama’s immigration action was deemed responsible for Democratic losses this year, it could hurt any attempt to pass a broad overhaul later on,” AP said.
However, the GOP leadership in the House and Senate have been reluctant to criticize Obama’s immigration plans, largely because they want to pass an amnesty bill in 2015, both to please business donors and to hopefully reduce the Democrats’ 40-point advantage among the 10 percent of voters who are Latinos.
“Because of the Republicans’ extreme politicization of this issue, the President believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to announce administrative action before the elections,” according to the email sent by White House officials to favored media outlets.
For example, the Republican National Committee suggested that Obama’s Sept. 6 reversal is evidence that Obama doesn’t really want an immigration compromise. “This is more evidence that Democrats never really wanted to fix our immigration system when Republicans were sitting at the table… reform will continue to be the President’s biggest failure as long as he keeps playing politics and refuses to work with Republicans.” said RNC spokeswoman Ruth Guerra.
Instead of denouncing Obama’s lax enforcement policies on the Texas border, the GOP leadership is criticizing Obama for a supposed “humanitarian crisis” on the border. In fact, the “humanitarian crisis” is a migrants’ rush for Green Cards, caused by Obama’s decision to allow almost 200,000 migrants from Central America to file for Green Cards since 2009.
Obama’s Sept. 6 amnesty delay was OK’d by Obama’s establishment allies, including the Service Employees International Union.
“We are deeply disheartened that the dreams of hard-working immigrant families who have long contributed to the fabric of the American life remain in jeopardy… Whether it’s at the polls or on the streets, we’ll make sure immigration reform becomes a reality,” said a SEIU statement.
Ethnic lobbies also accepted the decision, although unhappily. “Today’s announcement by President Obama is shameful, and he is once again demonstrating that for him, politics come before the lives of Latino and immigrant families,” said a statement from present.org, one of the more radical Latino ethnic groups.
“This delay is a betrayal of the Latino community, and is certainly one of the single biggest attacks on Latino families by the Democratic Party in recent memory,” said the group, which did not threaten to withdraw support from Democratic candidates in November.