As U.S. immigration laws and policies flounder in a general state of anarchy, a far-left chorus insists that only Democrats can reform immigration. What the nation needs is response from the center-right that Republicans also can do it and do it well.
As President Barack Obama and the Democrats press pie-in-the-sky Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) legislation, their all-or-nothing attitude not only disses Republicans, it shortchanges the nation.
As reported by The New York Times on January 13, 2013, Obama will seek a giant one-step overhaul of immigration. He is joined by those Democrats who suggest massive, one-piece immigration legislation, even at the cost of proposed fiscal and gun legislation. Although Obamaspeak would have the nation believe there is bipartisan support for CIR, Republicans need to say, “Not so fast.”
Republicans can reign in current immigration anarchy with a balanced legislative approach. They ought not be dissuaded from their patriotic duty by fear of a mushrooming Hispanic vote, by fear of the liberal news media and talking heads, or by fear of a second-term president. House and Senate Republicans also were elected by the people in 2012.
After failing to pass CIR during his first term, Obama re-promised its passage in the first year of his second term. Fiscal problems, however, now dominate the political landscape in Washington, D.C.
In addition, questions are being raised concerning Obama’s nominees for secretary of Defense, secretary of the Treasury, perhaps secretaries of Interior and Labor, and the posts of CIA director and EPA administrator.
Confirmation hearings may drag on and, combined with the looming fiscal debacle, may well impede any other major legislation for months. Now federal gun legislation has risen to the forefront in reaction to the horrendous school shootings in Newtown, Conn. In response, on January 16, 2013, Obama signed 23 Executive Orders aimed at controlling firearms.
The president claims a re-election mandate and carte blanche for his ideas, but history is known to play tricks with overconfident second termers. For instance, Obama and the Democrats quietly pledge relief for Hispanic immigrants even if it be by Executive Fiat, again bypassing Congress.
The Obama administration has a successful record of end-running Congress. The president needs only sign Executive Orders or instruct his political appointees to promulgate regulations that advance his big-government goals.
As for immigration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) neatly ignored Congress in 2011 and 2012 by issuing memoranda on “prosecutorial discretion” and “deferred deportation”.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has been impotent in blocking the Obama authoritarian surge, since the Democrat-controlled Senate has tabled all House legislation.
The 2012 U.S. electorate — citizens and non-citizens — voted for government entitlements and handouts, thus forming a new voting bloc. Democrats played to perfection cradle-to-grave entitlement promises for the young, the women, and an ever increasing Hispanic population.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Organized Crime and Gang Section (OCGS), guesstimates a total of 1.4 million gang members in the United States with the majority of them illegal aliens and anchor babies. The Obama administration appears clueless on stopping the related gang gun violence, which only promises to increase with amnesty provisions in Democrat-proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) legislation.
Obama Democrats are intent on enacting CIR legislation that promises to be as muddled as The Patient Protection, Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Republicans will need spines of steel to challenge CIR citizenship giveaways and loss of national sovereignty. The United States cannot easily survive another Nancy Pelosi statement, saying that we must pass CIR legislation to learn what is in it.
Immigration legislation needs to be considered for a vote but only after hearings and debate in both chambers of Congress conducted under regular rules of order. Obama and the Democrats prefer not to have Congressional hearings and debate, as they will result in U.S. voters seeing the flaws in proposed CIR legislation.
In contrast, Republicans have the option and the duty to propose incremental immigration reform, beginning with new legislation on border security. Strong new enforcement measures are needed to counteract the “catch-and-release” policy for apprehended illegal aliens that the U.S. Border Patrol now conducts under rules of “prosecutorial discretion.”
Another incremental immigration reform could well be a Guest Worker Program for the 21st century. Other pieces of legislation, in need of fair and open debate, could cover the following bills separately: employer sanctions, family unity, asylum and refugee matters, visa categories, and rules of deportation.
Republicans, speaking with one voice, can reform immigration legislation by insisting that national sovereignty and national security be the main concern rather than political pandering for votes.
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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