Obama's Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell Immigration Policy

Tuesday, 24 Aug 2010 09:58 AM

By James Walsh

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President Barack Obama’s campaign of change is hitting a brick wall on immigration.

His electoral victory was secured by 74 percent of the Hispanic vote. These voters were won over by the candidate’s outspoken support for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens and their family members.

Although he promised an immigration bill in his first year, the President failed to deliver. Following a bruising healthcare victory, Obama finds his administration in an immigration quagmire, which explains the passage of a half-measure Southwest Border Security Act.

The Obama administration now realizes that most Americans are concerned about border control and illegal alien crossings, a rising national crime wave by illegal alien gangs, and the stress illegal aliens place on education, healthcare, and social services.

Federal immigration laws and judicial decisions have produced the current border crisis, and comprehensive immigration reform legislation promises to follow suit. A summary review is illustrative.

1982: The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe held that benefits for the general public could not exclude illegal aliens.

1986: The U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA, 42 USC Section 1395dd), codifying healthcare for illegal aliens. Under EMTALA no person can go untreated by an Emergency Room (ER) regardless of citizenship.

2004: The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured determined that U.S. hospitals went uncompensated in 2004 for medical care amounting to $40.7 billion. In California, Los Angeles County spent $340 million for medical treatment of uninsured illegal aliens.

2005: According to Border Patrol figures, 94 percent of the 1.2 million illegal border-crossers apprehended were at the Southern Border. For every illegal alien apprehended, an estimated three to five succeed in entering the United States.

2007: The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 9.7 million “uninsured noncitizens” cost medical providers $8.6 billion per year, quite a high cost-benefit ratio.

2008: With more than half of ER costs unpaid, hospitals in border states continued to close. An estimated loss of $42.7 billion was experienced by U.S. hospitals.

2009: On June 19, the president spoke at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, reaffirming his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.

Also that month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder granted illegal aliens facing deportation an additional ground for appeal and delay: “poor legal representation.”

The U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (HR 432), sponsored by Luis Guiterrez, D-Ill., and Soloman Ortiz, D-Texas; and at a closed-door White House immigration conference on June 25, Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was designated author/point man for the Senate immigration bill, with Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., co-author.

2010: On April 23, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed an immigration law (S. 1070) that, in part, authorizes state law enforcement officers to inquire about citizenship, where reasonable suspicion exists that a person being questioned regarding a separate violation is also an illegal alien.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder denounced the bill while admitting that neither had read it. On May 25, the president announced that 1,200 National Guard troops would be sent to the Southern Border.

On July 6, Attorney General Holder announced a federal lawsuit to nullify the Arizona illegal alien immigration control law (S. 1070), alleging that it conflicts with federal authority.

On July 12, President Obama’s bipartisan Debt Commission announced that current budget trends will destroy the country from within. Co-Chairman Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, noted, “The debt is like a cancer.”

On Aug. 13, the president signed the Southwest Border Security bill, hurried through Congress to defuse the Arizona crisis. The new law creates 1,000 new U.S. Border Patrol positions that will take more than a year to fill because of time needed to hire, train, and deploy agents.

The funding of $600 million is expected to improve border security technology, support state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and combat drug gang incursions.

Meanwhile, U.S. Border Patrol agents have been pulled back from the border because it is too dangerous and they might trigger an international incident.

Funding for the new border security law is modest compared to the total cost to taxpayers of illegal alien services, including incarceration. The cost guestimate of such services for men, women, and children in the United States illegally is $114 billion per year.

With border security “resolved” legislatively at least, the Obama administration can concentrate on amnesty measures of comprehensive immigration reform.

The failure of previous attempts may be attributable to a nagging suspicion in the minds of Americans that not all aliens rushing toward citizenship have the best interest of the United States at heart. Recent domestic terrorist arrests and convictions support such suspicion.

Most illegal aliens, however, are motivated by economic reasons, but with a new twist. Work has become secondary. Social and welfare entitlements are now the main draw. With Mexico on the verge of becoming a Narco-state, migration numbers are likely to increase.

Illegal aliens entering the United States understand that the Obama administration is reshaping social and welfare benefits to be “citizenship neutral” with no questions asked regarding the citizenship of applicants.

This “don’t ask-don’t tell” immigration policy is a key part of the president’s plan to redistribute the nation’s wealth.



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