Immigration Reform Program Announced by Obama Administration
Reports are circulating around Washington D.C. that the Obama Administration plans to come out of the gate this month with a push on his immigration reform program. We have heard these promises before so it will be interesting to see if he follows through with it at this time as there is much pressure from the far left to make gun control a major early initiative of this session of Congress. A White House official speaking under conditions of anonymity told the Huffington Post that the President is concerned that standoffs on fiscal issues might drain the momentum of other social issue priorities so he will move forward on both immigration and gun control laws.
The order in which these two issues are addressed could have a lot to do with their outcome. If the President pushes for gun control first, he will fire up many Democrats and nearly all Republicans against him at the expense of much political capital making immigration reform almost impossible as a next step. However, if he pushes the immigration reform first, he may well re-awaken the Tea Party groups causing them to become mobilized and activated which would further endanger any gun control legislation.
Last week I reported on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's proposal for gun control legislation. Clearly her goal is to make gun ownership by law abiding citizens almost impossible. Her proposal was a clear declaration of war against the Constitution and our rights.
Now let's take a look at President Obama's plans for immigration reform. In a document entitled "Building a 21st Century Immigration System", President Obama lays out a blueprint for his agenda on Immigration Reform. The report centers around four key components. Those being:
- Secure the Border
- Stop business owners from continuing illegal hiring practices undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers.
- Creating a new immigration system to make America more competitive while reflecting our values and economic needs.
- Dealing with the 11 million people who are living in the United States illegally.
Following is a summary of the President's plans on these four points.
President Obama continues to reiterate his deep commitment to fixing the broken immigration system and outlined his vision for a 21st century immigration policy:
- Responsibility by the federal government to secure our borders:Today, our borders are more secure than at any time in the past several decades, and the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy. Enforcement resources should be focused on preventing those who would do our nation harm from entering our country.
- Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers: Employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers must be held accountable. At the same time, we must give employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
- Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs: Our immigration laws should continue to reunify families and encourage individuals we train in our world-class institutions to stay and develop new technologies and industries in the United States rather than abroad. The law should stop punishing innocent young people whose parents brought them here illegally and give those young men and women a chance to stay in this country if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. A smart 21st century system should also provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on year after year, and it should improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if U.S. workers are not available.
- Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally:Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for their actions and get on the right side of the law by registering and undergoing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English before they can get in line to become eligible for citizenship. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflects our values.
On the surface these do not sound much like the plan put forward by former President Bush in 2007. And it looks much more like something conservatives can work with to finally move the ball forward on real immigration reform.
The President is correct in that the border is much more secure today than it has ever been before. That is not to say that it is secure. It is far from that. The Border Patrol has increased in size from 10,000 members in 2004 to over 20,000 today. But putting that in perspective, the agency responsible for securing all of our borders and ports of entry is only 2/3rds the size of the New York City Police Department. We have built hundreds of miles of fence. We are employing more technology solution through the use of drones and dirigibles which monitor movement along the border and allow security forces to be deployed more effectively. But much more can and should be done to increase manpower and technology.
Rather than simply standing in opposition to immigration reform, which has resulted in virtual amnesty for the past five years or more, Republicans in the House should lead on this issue and develop a sensible immigration reform program that deals with the national security and economic needs of our country and puts and end to the lawlessness that has been created by our broken immigration system.
One thing we know for certain is if we do not lead and come up with a program that can pass in the House and the Senate, President Obama will continue to abuse the Constitution and rule by executive order as he did last year with his "Dream Act Lite" program. It is important that we develop our own plan for reform.
Work with your Members of Congress and Senators and let them know what issues are important to you in developing a new program of realistic and enforceable immigration laws.