President Barack Obama, on June 15, 2012, announced that his administration is “deferring deportation” of illegal-alien youths for two years effective immediately.
What he offers is a bastardized version of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) that was rejected by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress in December 2010. The president insists that “deferred deportation” is not an Executive Order but an exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” and a better use of limited resources, not a political ploy.
In fact, this prosecutorial-discretion ploy has been in effect, ever since a DHS memo of June 17, 2011, authorized DHS officials to revaluate and reduce deportations. The Obama announcement merely builds on the DHS memo by authorizing work permits for illegal-alien youth.
In addition, both the DHS memo and the president’s announcement of deferred deportation are in direct contrast to the record-setting deportations of illegal aliens by the Obama administration — 1.1 million deportations in three years. One Hispanic woman community organizer said that Obama is like “Bush on steroids.”
The Obama administration says deferred deportation will affect 800,000 youths. But a Washington Post article on June 16 quoted a Pew Hispanic Center figure of 1.4 million illegal alien youths, most of them Hispanic. The actual number is unknown, just as the actual number of all illegal aliens is unknown.
To qualify for non-deportation status, an applicant will need to show that he/she came into the United States before his/her 16th birthday, that he/she has been here continuously for five years, that he/she is not older than 30 years of age (since when is a person 18 to 30 years of age considered a minor?), that he/she has a high school diploma or GED or has served honorably in the U.S. military, and that he/she has no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions on record and does not constitute a national security threat.
In return, these “youths” will be given work permits to compete with the millions of unemployed U.S. citizens in the 30-and-under age bracket. Current estimates have unemployment among all persons 18 to 25 years old at 20 percent and among black youths at 40 percent.
Deferred deportation can only increase unemployment among U.S. citizen youth. How many of the “youth” have children and family in other countries, and may now enter legally if Obama’s administration has its way.
Depending on the source, estimates are that 25 million to 40 million citizens of all ages are unemployed or under-employed. Data indicates that more than 25 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed, and another 15 percent are under-employed.
The legalization of 1.4 million new workers will skewer the job market and bankrupt local and state welfare programs, when “deferred” youth can’t find jobs.
What does the Hispanic community think of deferred deportations? Many have their doubts about Obama and his repeated promises of comprehensive immigration reform — La Promesa de Obama — dating from 2007. During a February 2012 interview with the Hispanic television network, Univision, the president said, “I’ve got another five years coming up. We’re going to get this done,” suggesting comprehensive immigration reform.
Many Hispanics want to know why, in 2009 and 2010, when the Democrats controlled the White House as well as the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, was neither immigration reform nor the DREAM Act enacted? Obama never intended to actually seek the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, as it would defeat his idea of marginalizing America.
Recent surveys show that Hispanics are worried about jobs, the economy, education for their children, and fiscal solvency, with immigration coming in a poor fifth. The average U.S. citizen/taxpayer of Hispanic lineage also worries about the additional costs of adding an estimated 1.4 million illegal-alien youth up to 30 years old to the welfare rolls.
Obama’s non-enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has a growing number of voters citing the U.S. Constitution, which states clearly that only the Legislative Branch can make law. They say that the president has over-reached his constitutional authority by announcing what is, in fact, an Executive Order contradicting existing U.S. immigration laws. Non-enforcement of existing U.S. immigration laws is de facto amnesty.
Hispanic voters realize that Obama is pandering to them by offering a campaign concession with limited shelf life. They know by now that long-term meaningful immigration reform is not part of Obama’s game plan.
Meanwhile, National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed young non-citizen Hispanic activists, who voiced their “demand” for all rights of U.S. citizenship. One young lady summed it up by saying, “Obama will get our votes.” Does she know something we don’t? Is the right to vote part of the Obama “deferred deportation” plan?
At the same time, Latino journalists, community organizers, and political activists feel betrayed by President Obama’s broken promises. Many Hispanics see the Obama administration’s attack on the Catholic Church as an attack on religious freedom that impacts the Hispanic community, and many will see Obama’s “deferred deportation” for what it is — a Rose Garden re-election ploy.
The president is still losing Hispanic 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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