The White House, its congressional allies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led cheap labor lobby have thrown down the gauntlet. On immigration, it’s their way or the highway.
Last week, in a series of late breaking developments, Senate Gang of Eight leader Chuck Schumer said that the House has two choices—pass an immigration bill that would legalize 12 million illegal immigrants and issue 20 million more visas to overseas workers that would more than double legal immigration within the first decade or President Obama will put an administrative amnesty into effect.
In his Facebook post, Schumer advanced the all-too-familiar lies about how the reform bill would grow the U.S. economy, bring in much needed workers, and take illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.” Immigration advocates have a message and they’re sticking to it. Even though more than 92 million Americans are out of the labor market, Schumer, House Majority Leader John Boehner and Mark Zuckerberg disingenuously insist that more foreign-born labor is essential for the American economy.
Making good on Schumer’s promise, Obama ordered Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review how deportations are carried out with an eye toward making them “more humane.” Critics know that Obama’s latest exploit will extend to a much larger group his deferred action policies currently available to childhood arrivals, parents with U.S. citizen children and family members of military personnel. Most aliens found within the United States would be removed from deportation unless they are convicted of murder, rape, sexual violence, human trafficking, or any other crime that that endangers public safety.
Here’re a few under-reported things about deportations that Americans aren’t likely to know. First, because aliens receive a “Notice to Appear” before an immigration judge, the removal process is, despite what detractors claim, already humane. They have the right to be represented by an immigration lawyer. If the alien shows up, never a certainty, he’ll have a chance to tell his personal story. Depending on the individual’s circumstances, his hearing could result in the judge canceling his removal order or granting asylum.
Second, despite all the hype about record deportation levels, the opposite is true. Enforcement in the U.S interior is in steep decline; less than 1 percent of the illegal immigrant population is deported from the interior. The inflated statistics immigration proponents cite result from the Department of Homeland Security now adding border returns to interior removals. Previous administrations reported the two categories separately.
Since 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been restrained by much stricter guidelines. They’ve been ordered to curtail the use of detainers, not to arrest broad categories of illegal immigrants including students, minor criminals, long-time residents, and caregivers among others, none of which have a statutory basis for special treatment.
Further weakening enforcement is the latest DHS firearms rule with which 21,000 border patrol agents must comply. Effective March 7, agents must retreat and seek cover in face of rock throwing crossers and keep their weapons holstered even when being approached by vehicles driven by known drug dealers or human traffickers. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Fisher said that since 2010, agents have been assaulted by rock 1,713 times. Unsurprisingly, immigration advocates wrote the revised regulations which, despite objections from officers on the front, Secretary Johnson implemented.
An interesting footnote to what appears to be a rogue administration: U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has introduced the ENFORCE the Law Act, passed by the House 233-181. Citing abuse of power, Gowdy’s bill would allow Congress to sue Obama in federal courts for arbitrarily changing or refusing to enforce federal laws including those that govern immigration because by ignoring them he violates the constitutional separation of powers principle.
In the unlikely event that Gowdy’s bill ever reaches his desk, Obama has promised to veto it.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]