by Joe Guzzardi
Republicans, traditionally oriented toward enforcing federal immigration law and Democrats, historically advocates for alien entitlements, have morphed.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ leaders have ignored House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith‘s Legal Workforce Act. By refusing to bring it (and H.R. 1505 which provides greater border protection to federally protected lands) to the floor for a full vote, Speaker John Boehner and House Leader Eric Cantor allow 7 million illegal immigrants to keep their jobs and leave unguarded easily accessible corridors through which aliens can enter. While the Republicans dawdle, President Barack Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security to put its backdoor amnesty into effect within the next few weeks.
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The Republicans failure to act on a bill the public has been clamoring for, mandatory E-Verify, is incomprehensible. In the mid-term 2010 elections, House Republicans gained 63 seats in large part because they campaigned on E-Verify and against the DREAM Act. Capitol Hill sources suspect that the Republicans, like the Democrats, have bowed to pressure from open borders lobbyists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
With jobs by far America’s most pressing issue, the Republicans have made a conscious decision not to go forward with legislation that would immediately create employment for many of the 22 million Americans who can’t find full time jobs. Smith’s E-Verify bill, which passed committee weeks ago, would remove some of the 7 million working aliens and prevent others from being hired.
Combine the Republicans sudden squishiness with the lackluster impression the debating presidential candidates have made and the question has to be asked: Is the Republican Party able to get out of its own way?
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By contrast, the Democratic immigration agenda is obvious. Americans may not like it but the Democrats set out 18 months ago to, according to leaked Department of Homeland Security memos, to “reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization.” In other words, the plan is to grant amnesty through prosecutorial discretion to those illegal aliens that the government deems insignificant.
In a March 2011 memo, ICE Director John Morton made clear that only a small percentage of illegal aliens like terrorists, violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders would be prioritized for removal. Morton identified “low priority” apprehensions as, for example, aliens convicted of drunk driving. Although Morton might consider driving while intoxicated a minor matter, those who have lost a loved one to a drunken alien driving without a license would disagree.
This week, Secretary Janet Napolitano with the encouragement of Democratic leaders like Illinois Senator Richard Durbin announced that the alien pardoning process would begin soon. Obama has exasperated the public by letting it be known, via Napolitano, that most of the aliens set free under his policy would be given work authorization permits.
Obama’s failure to enforce immigration laws and instead create a de facto amnesty circumvents Congress, abuses his executive branch powers, violates the Constitution, and dismisses the American people’s wishes regarding immigration which are well known to him — they want less of it.
With slightly more than a year remaining until Election Day, the parties have time to shift their policies to become more in tune with the mainstream. For now, however, the Democrats are entrenched and the Republicans are confused.
Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns, mostly about immigration and related social issues, since 1986. He is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and his columns are syndicated in various U.S. newspapers and websites. Contact him at JoeGuzzardi@CAPSweb.org.