President Barack Obama once declared that an influx of illegal immigrants will harm “the wages of blue-collar Americans” and “put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then-Senator Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”
”Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote.
“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
If these feel like the words of one of Obama’s opponents, it’s because they’re the exact argument the president’s critics have been making as he now rushes to announce a sweeping executive order that would give work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country.
In the passage, Obama also reveals that he personally feels “patriotic resentment” when he sees Mexican flags at immigration rallies.
“Native-born Americans suspect that it is they, and not the immigrant, who are being forced to adapt” to social changes caused by migration, he said.
“And if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments,” Obama wrote. “When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”
Obama’s frank statements were written in 2006, as he was eying a run for the presidency.
Via executive order, he is also about to provide work permits to at least 3 million illegal immigrants, allowing them to compete against the very Americans — black, white, Latino and Asian — who he once said would be harmed by such a move.
The new work permits would be in addition to the 600,000 work permits given to younger illegals under the 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program.
Roughly 4 million Americans will enter the job market this year.
Careful observers of Obama’s modern-day immigration rhetoric will note that he does not discuss the impact millions of formerly-illegal immigrants would have on the wages of American workers. Rather, Obama has repeatedly declared, “It’s the right thing to do.”
Obama has even justified his planned unilateral amnesty as a border control measure.
“In terms of immigration, I have consistently said that it is my profound preference and interest to see Congress act on a comprehensive immigration reform bill,” he said Nov. 5, at his post-defeat press conference in the White House.
That bill, he said, “would strengthen our borders; would streamline our legal immigration system so that it works better and we’re attracting the best and the brightest from around the world; and that we give an opportunity for folks who’ve lived here, in many cases, for a very long time, may have kids who are U.S. citizens, but aren’t properly documented.”
Obama’s plan reportedly would also allow companies to hire up to 500,000 foreign professionals to compete for jobs sought by the roughly 800,000 Americans who will graduate from universities in 2015, often carrying heavy debts, with degrees in medicine, business, science, math, engineering or architecture.
Back in 2006, Obama dismissed the current guest worker programs as unfair to Americans.
A 2006 immigration bill “included a guest worker program that would allow two hundred thousand foreign workers to enter the country for temporary employment,” he wrote.
“The guest worker provision of the bill troubled me,” Obama wrote, “it was essentially a sop to big business, a means for them to employ immigrants without granting them citizenship rights—indeed, a means for business to gain the benefits of outsourcing without having to locate their operations overseas.”
Obama is already expanding those guest worker programs by at least 100,000 jobs, and he backed the Senate’s 2013 bill that would have boosted the number of guest workers above 1 million each year.
Under current law, the U.S. accept 1 million immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest workers each year. Many of the guest workers stay for six years.