Tags: Barack Obama | Immigration | obama | immigration | illegals | executive action

Obama's Mistake on Executive Action

Obama's Mistake on Executive Action
(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 19 November 2014 01:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

According to press reports, President Barack Obama is planning to announce some form of amnesty for illegal aliens this week.

It is not a wise move and could prove to hurt the very same immigrants the president wants to help. Undoubtedly, litigation will ensue over the president's action — and these new residents will be in limbo as the courts determine their legal status to work and live in the United States.

So, before we go down this path let's consider how we got into this mess.

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, set up a political system that depends on compromise for anything significant to get done at the federal level. Both sides must "compromise." At this time, the word is not even in the vocabulary of either President Obama or House Republicans.

We can turn to finger-pointing regarding who is to blame for that, but let's not go there today.

We do know that Obama wants to improve the status of some 10 million or more illegal aliens in this country. Latinos form a key political base for the Democrats and helped him win the presidency. I also believe he has altruistic motives and feels the pain of people working in this country at subpar wages who want to do their best and become part of the American Dream.

On the Republican side, many in the GOP don't realize that their entire future depends on how they treat immigrants — illegal or otherwise.

It's been much talked about that Mitt Romney received just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012, down from the 41 percent George W. Bush got in 2004. Based on current demographics, it is doubtful the Republicans will ever capture the White House without winning at least the percentage of Latinos Bush received. (And don't forget that Asians voted more than 70 percent for Obama, when in the past this ethnic group would typically vote in those numbers for Republicans!)

It is true that the millions of migrants in the country came here illegally. But in my book that is not the worst crime. All crimes are not the same.

It is a bigger crime that they are not paying taxes. In some states, they even receive significant benefits from taxpayers without paying taxes. So these undocumented workers should be given some limited work status — not citizenship immediately — so they can be taxed, and also, critically, identified for law enforcement purposes.

This position is not unique among Republicans. I know that the majority of Republicans in the House hold the same view. This year they were ready to pass immigration reform that would have powerfully secured the border and put in triggering mechanisms, only after the border was secure, to provide work status for illegals.

Under Republican proposals, citizenship would not be possible until the immigrants had been working and paying taxes into the system for at least 10 years.

I strongly believe immigration reform could have passed in this Congress. But the Republicans got anxious this past summer when they saw the child migrant crisis and felt the Obama administration was not adequately confronting that issue.

They were also deeply concerned by Attorney General Eric Holder's selective enforcement of U.S. laws at the Justice Department.

"Can I trust Obama to enforce any new law?" a Republican congressman asked me over the summer. It's a frequent refrain.

I do believe the departure of Holder and the nomination of Loretta Lynch as attorney general is a step in the right direction. She is known as a superb law enforcement officer, and she is an apolitical straight-shooter. But the midterm elections have only heightened the level of political antagonism.

Despite voters' strong endorsement of the Republicans in the midterms, Obama seems to be on the warpath, vowing to move forward with an executive order to ease immigration laws before the end of the year and before the newly elected Congress sits in January.

"I can't wait in perpetuity when I have authorities that, at least for the next two years, can improve the system," he said. "I would be derelict in my duties if I did not try to improve the system."

This appears to be poking Republicans in the eye. Why can't he wait? Why not give the new Congress a few months to handle the crisis, especially since the American people have just spoken in elections?

If Obama feels so strongly on this issue, he could simply announce his plans and set a deadline for the new Congress to act before he takes any executive action — say March 31 of next year.

The Republicans should also be restrained in their rhetoric. Speaker Boehner's recent comment that "when you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself" didn't seem appropriate.

There is a clear case to be made that both parties have strong motives to deal with the illegals' situation, including selfish political ones.

The air should be ripe for compromise. But instead we keep getting invective. No wonder the American people are so turned off by politics. No wonder the American people had the second lowest midterm turnout in history in the last election — just 36.4 percent of eligible voters.

Yes, Madison's creation, the tub we must bathe in, demands compromise. But it also requires a political culture that breeds fair-minded men and women of all political stripes, people who can put aside personal and party gain for the greater good.

Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.

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According to press reports, President Barack Obama is planning to announce some form of amnesty for illegal aliens this week. It is not a wise move.
obama, immigration, illegals, executive action, latinos
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 01:42 PM
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