Government & Politics

There's Always the Lawless Approach to Immigration

Barack Obama has granted de facto amnesty by changing deportation practices.

Mar. 27, 2014

With approximately 12 million illegal aliens living, working and receiving taxpayer-paid benefits within U.S. borders, immigration reform has long been the perpetually unfulfilled promise. In 2008, Barack Obama pledged to make it a “top priority” in the first year of his first term. Four years later, he promised to tackle it in the first year of his second term. Perhaps third time’s the charm, but no thanks. As Obama morphed from a candidate who feigns belief in Rule of Law to a president who openly believes in rule of one man – himself – his approach to immigration has changed.

In November of last year, for example, he pretended to be constrained by law in acting on immigration reform. Responding to a request that he issue an executive order on immigration, Obama said, “If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing this through Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition.” The irony here is that he had already begun disregarding the law long before. Indeed, in 2012, he issued an executive dictum ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to halt certain deportations.

Then there was his statement earlier this year, when he basically announced that Congress could take a long walk off a short pier, threatening, “Where Congress isn’t acting, I’ll act on my own.” And of course his now infamous “I’ve got a pen” remark. Spoken like a true tyrant.

Turns out, however, that when it comes to immigration, Obama hasn’t used a pen at all, just an eraser. And through an extra-legal policy of selective law enforcement, Obama granted de facto amnesty to virtually every illegal immigrant. According to an analysis issued by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the Obama administration has given a free pass to millions of illegal aliens – not only those in the United States today but also those who may be in the United States in the future. The report notes that “a review of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) published enforcement statistics for 2013 reveals a shocking truth: DHS [Department of Homeland Security] has blocked the enforcement of immigration law for the overwhelming majority of violations – and is planning to widen that amnesty even further.” Specifically, ICE has stopped deportations for virtually all illegal aliens except those who are caught crossing the border, are convicted criminals, or are fugitives or habitual breakers of immigration law.

What does this mean in real numbers? According to the analysis, in 2013, ICE recorded 368,000 removals. Of these, 235,000 were border apprehensions (which are not typically counted as deportations), and 110,000 were removals of convicted criminals. Of the remaining 23,000, which are termed “interior removals” (as opposed to border removals), 13,000 were “either fugitives or habitual offenders/previous deportees.” This leaves just 10,000 – or 2% of the 368,000 removals – deported for breaking immigration law without additional demerits against them. Placed in context, those deported simply for breaking immigration law – without having criminal convictions or being habitual immigration law offenders or previous deportees – comprised a total of 0.08% of the 12 million individuals who are currently in the United States illegally.

By refusing to enforce immigration law, Obama has granted amnesty to nearly all of the illegal aliens living in the United States today and granted near carte blanche immunity (and don’t forget government benefits) to the vast majority of those considering entering the U.S. illegally tomorrow.

Perhaps this is why Republicans have reined in their efforts at immigration reform. After all, even were it to pass, what good is a law in the hands of the chief lawbreaker?

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