Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency because of a majority of the Hispanic vote in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico and large numbers of Hispanic votes in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Nationally, he received 67 percent of the Hispanic voting population.
Though politically incorrect to mention, U.S. election officials have looked the other way, during the past decade, as a non-citizen voting element multiplied in the United States. Not all Hispanics voting in U.S. elections are U.S. citizens, and that is the sad truth. These illegal voters now expect quid-pro-quo returns from President Obama, including open borders, blanket amnesty, and amnesty-related healthcare.
Although surveys show that 75 percent of U.S. citizens are against amnesty, the Obama administration has no intention of allowing angry U.S. citizens to derail yet another prime piece of permissive immigration legislation, as was the fate of the 2007 McCain-Kennedy bill. President Obama, when addressing the nation’s immigration woes, suggests off-the-cuff amnesty for illegal aliens. On March 18, 2009, in California, the president re-affirmed his stance on “pathway to citizenship,” as if saying would make it so. Whether he believes that blanket amnesty legislation will come to pass is another matter, but meanwhile he plays to his base. As does Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who, on March 20, 2009, observed that comprehensive immigration legislation is not likely this year.
Earlier that week, she told an audience of immigrants that U.S. immigration laws are “un-American,” suggesting that they need not be obeyed, startling rhetoric for a woman in the line of succession for the presidency.
Pelosi is in lockstep with the Obama administration in offering no plans to curb the skyrocketing costs that illegal aliens place on state and federal budgets for social welfare benefits, education, criminal justice and incarceration, environmental services, and at the forefront, healthcare.
Where do illegal aliens fit in the 47 million men, women, and children in the United States alleged to have no health insurance? Of this 47 million, nearly 40 percent are described as U.S. citizens, who refuse, for various reasons, to be forced into any healthcare program. Another 20 percent are U.S. citizens seeking health insurance. The remaining 40 percent of the alleged uninsured are thought to be non-citizens, many in this country illegally.
The total number of illegal aliens currently in the United States, as estimated by liberal think tanks, is approximately 12 million to 20 million. A closer look at federal apprehensions of illegal aliens at U.S. borders (Mexican, Canadian, Atlantic, Pacific, and inland ports of entry at U.S. airports) suggests that the total number of illegal aliens in the United States may be closer to 38 million men, women, and children.
Any count of this ghost population remains a guesstimate; but illegal aliens do become visible through their documented consumption of public benefits such as healthcare.
As unemployment rates increase among U.S. citizens, resentment is growing toward illegal aliens who take not only jobs but health care benefits — at taxpayer expense. Illegal aliens present an interesting dilemma for the Obama administration and open border advocates. Indications are that most illegal aliens receive pay in cash, and thus healthcare contributions by employers are non-existent, feeding the employer’s bottom line.
It is not surprising then that open border advocates now include the business community and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The president’s life story influences his immigration thinking, which includes blanket amnesty, global entry to the United States, and healthcare for all comers. The failing U.S. economy and the collateral damage from it have taken immigration off the front burner, but it was the presidential candidates themselves, John McCain as well as Barack Obama, who eliminated immigration as a campaign issue.
When candidate McCain failed to deliver on his “pathway to citizenship” candidate Obama promised amnesty. Hispanic voters weighed the odds for blanket amnesty with all the rights of citizenship and marked their ballots for Obama.
Meanwhile the cost of illegal immigration to the U.S. taxpayer is estimated at $346 billion annually and rising. Education and related healthcare are among the escalating costs, with one-fourth of students (K-12) in the United States now Hispanic. In Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, more than half the students in grades 1-12 are Hispanic.
U.S. citizens are becoming alarmed by daily accounts of crimes committed by illegal aliens, who receive light sentences, a deportment waiver, and healthcare.
Criminal gangs that run wild through U.S. cities are given a pass by enforcement agencies. A violent crime wave led by Mexican drug cartels is now said to be underway in at least 230 U.S. cities as compared to 50 cities in 2006.
The Obama administration’s recent effort to place the Census Bureau within the White House was an ill-advised power grab and blatant attempt to legitimize (without legislation) the ghost population of illegal aliens residing in the United States. New York City, a sanctuary city, is lobbying for the 2010 census to include illegal aliens. New York City pays millions of dollars for social/welfare benefits, including healthcare, for illegal aliens and their extended families. The economic recession is impacting the generosity of New York and other sanctuary cities and states that previously felt compelled to encourage and protect illegal aliens. Because of its sanctuary spending, California now faces bankruptcy.
President Obama will find that the amnesty campaign rhetoric to which he clings falls flat when it comes to governing.
To avoid the image of a charismatic empty suit, he needs to put aside campaign rhetoric and get down to work resolving the immigration and related healthcare chaos, even if it upsets some Hispanic supporters. Granted, current U.S. immigration laws are dysfunctional, thanks to 40 years of weak congressional oversight, but a rational immigration policy for the United States is a change long overdue.
James H. Walsh is a former federal prosecutor.
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