Politics

Obama Will Shut Border Agency To Aid Illegals, Says Aide

Neil Munro White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama will block 2015 funding for the Department of Homeland Security if Republicans includes spending curbs on the president’s executive amnesty, says a top aide.

That amnesty action includes the award of work permits, drivers’ licenses, Social Security cards and tax rebates to at least four million illegal immigrants, despite the wage-cutting surplus of American workers in Obama’s economy.

The adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, told a Huffington Post interviewer Dec. 29 that the president would “absolutely not” sign a 2015 spending bill that would include limits on amnesty spending.

Would Obama veto the spending curbs? “Yep,” Pfeiffer said.

But Pfeiffer’s veto threat is likely superfluous, because the GOP’s top congressional leaders have gone silent on their early-December promises to curb the amnesty spending after February.

Pfeiffer used the Huffington Post’s softball interview to prod the GOP leadership toward backing away from a fight over amnesty. “I think the Republicans know they have little to no leverage,” he said. “Are they going to shut down the Department of Homeland Security to undo our executive action? I don’t think they are going to do that.”

“There is an array of little things they can do. … I mean it is possible that insanity will prevail upon the House Republican caucus as it did last October during the [2013] shutdown,” he said.

Watch at 13:13 mark:

Pfeiffer’s show of confidence is belied by polls, which show that GOP voters are strongly opposed to Obama’s immigration policies, and that most Americans oppose policies that allow companies to hire migrants in place of Americans.

For example, a large September poll by Paragon Insights showed that large slices of the Democratic coalition would be “much more likely” to vote for a GOP candidate who says that “the first goal of immigration policy needs to be getting unemployed Americans back to work — not importing more low-wage workers to replace them.” Thirty-eight percent of African-Americans, 39 percent of Democratic women, 36 percent of Latinos and roughly 47 percent of Midwesterners said they would be much more likely to support a GOP candidate who favors the employment of Americans, according to the Paragon poll.

The Republican leadership is only showing token evidence that it will respond to those voters.

For example, the GOP’s 2015 budget provided only two months of appropriations to the agency that is carrying out Obama’s amnesty. That two-month limit was offered by the leadership to conservatives to help win their support for the 2015 funding bill, which passed mid-December.

But 67 GOP legislators voted against the bill when the GOP leaders refused to include language barring the amnesty, but added a valuable favor for Wall Street.

Obama accepted the Wall Street favor, said Pfeiffer, because “you have a [funding] bill that you know Congress passes that doesn’t do anything to [Obamacare and] does nothing to immigration executive action.”

Under normal circumstances, that two-month spending limit for the agency would allow the Republican-run Congress to write a new funding bill that could block any agency amnesty spending from February to October.

But there’s nothing normal about president’s decision to ignore immigration law.

First, the agency within the Department of Homeland Security that will actually hand out the work permits doesn’t rely on congressional funds. It uses fees from legal immigrants to fund its operations — and Obama plans to use fees from illegal immigrants to fund the amnesty during 2015. The GOP “can shut down DHS, you can’t defund our executive action because it is paid for by fees,” Pfeiffer said.

Second, even if the GOP leadership or Obama blocks appropriations funding for DHS, most of its employees are law enforcement officials who are exempt from government shutdowns. That means DHS border guards and customs officials will keep working, even if Congress and the White House can’t agree on a funding bill. That legal quirk will reduce the pressure for both sides to agree on a funding bill.

Third, and most importantly, there’s little evidence that the GOP leadership wants to defund the amnesty.

Instead, the GOP leaders say they want to pass bills that would invite more than 500,000 low-wage foreign workers into the country each year. Those foreign workers would compete with the blue-collar and white-collar Americans and legal immigrants who are seeking jobs in canneries and meat-packing companies, in trucks and hotels, in resorts and farms, in hospitals, accounting firms, universities pharmacies and technology firms.

“We have a responsibility to start moving serious legislation ourselves,” Republican Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, told The Hill newspaper. “Let’s do high-tech visa reform so we sort of take American business out of this debate. … Let’s do something on seasonal labor. There’s no question we have a agricultural labor issue. A lot of people want to come here, do that tough hard work and go home. That’s fine, we should make that possible,” Cole said.

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