Obama’s Immigration Legacy: Lower Wages And Less Security For Americans

Ken Blackwell Former Ohio Secretary of State
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“All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you,” was the big lie President Barack Obama used when he announced his executive action on immigration. Despite being repeated time and again by politicians and the media during the DHS funding debate to describe the president’s action, it’s still a lie.

To quote an analysis of the president’s speech published by Associated Press within hours, “THE FACTS: He’s saying, and doing, more than that. The changes also will make those covered eligible for work permits, allowing them to be employed in the country legally and compete with citizens and legal residents for better-paying jobs.”

Since he took office in 2009, deportations to date under President Obama have plunged by 58 percent. In fact, recent data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show that the rate of deportations in just the last three months have been cut by 43 percent compared with three years ago. Now, there’s the latest report from Judicial Watch indicating that as of April 2014, federal immigration officials released nearly 872,000 illegal aliens, of which 165,900 are convicted criminals.

Shielding people from deportation in the form of prosecutorial discretion is alive and well, and it continues despite a court order halting the president’s executive immigration action. In February, Judge Andrew Hanen put the president’s actions on hold when he ruled that Obama lacked authority to carry out much of the initiative he announced in November to allow up to five million more illegal immigrants to obtain work permits and reprieves from deportation.

American citizens understand the serious economic impact of illegal immigration. In addition to Americans having to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs, the nation as a whole has seen a dramatic depression in wages as we import more and more workers to compete for jobs. Following complete inaction under the Clinton and Bush presidencies, Obama’s policies have further exacerbated the strain of illegal immigration on the nation’s economy as well as our security.

During the 2012 election, President Obama and then-Secretary Janet Napolitano implemented executive immigration policies known as prosecutorial discretion and deferred action. Prosecutorial discretion prioritizes the detention and deportation of illegal aliens, categorizing as “Priority 1” those who are engaged in terrorism and criminal activity such as gang involvement and aggravated felonies. Deferred action shielded more than 800,000 young illegal aliens brought to the U.S. by their parents from deportation.

As ICE data suggests, however, Obama has failed to enforce these policies that he himself implemented!  Since last April, we’ve had nearly 166,000 criminal illegal aliens running loose in our communities, killing innocent Americans such as 21-year-old Grant Ronnebeck.  His uncle, Michael Ronnebeck, delivered a heartbreaking testimony before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee panel just a few weeks ago.  During his remarks, Mr. Ronnebeck spoke of his nephew’s murder at the hands of an illegal alien with an extensive criminal record, but who had been apprehended and released by ICE in 2013.  “I believe there is simply no excuse for ICE to be releasing individuals like this back onto our streets to endanger and kill hard-working Americans,” Ronnebeck told the committee.

The reality is, American workers are not prioritized in the president’s immigration actions, which are first and foremost about rewarding illegal aliens with work permits so they can compete with U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents for jobs. Obama’s reckless disregard for the economic well-being of American workers is also making our communities less safe and our nation less secure, as he has failed to uphold even his own limited immigration enforcement priorities.