Joe Guzzardi, 8/19/2011 [Archive]

Obama Stakes Re-Election on Immigration Policy

Obama Stakes His Re-Election on Immigration Policy, A Gamble Unlikely to Pay Off

By Joe Guzzardi

Talk about bad timing! For the third time in three years, President Obama is on a ten day vacation at tony Martha's Vineyard. Disregarding soaring debt, high unemployment, home foreclosures, two costly wars and a tumultuous stock market Obama took wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha to hang out with the rich and famous on their 28-acre leased estate.

Before he left on vacation, Obama had a nasty surprise for unemployed Americans and citizens who believe in enforcing the nation's laws. According to new rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security, illegal immigrants facing deportation will now be allowed to stay in the country indefinitely and get a work permit. Break the law; be rewarded with a job opportunity.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano presented the new policy as one that will allow the government to focus on deporting only illegal immigrants who are criminals or who pose a threat to national security. But given the broad nature of the Homeland Security edict, it's clear that the true purpose is to grant a backdoor amnesty to an unlimited number of illegal aliens.

In her letter sent to Senator Richard Durbin, who sponsored various versions of the DREAM Act, and 20 of his like-mined colleagues, Napolitano outlined the new system.

Working groups from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice will develop specific criteria to identify so called low-priority removal cases that will be considered for what they refer to as "prosecutorial discretion." In other words, federal officials will use their own "discretion" to decide which aliens that, under the law, should be deported, will instead be allowed to remain.

Included in the discretionary category will be individuals present in the U.S. since childhood, DREAM Act candidates, minors, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women, victims of serious crimes, veterans and members of the armed services and individuals with serious disabilities or health problems.

In short, virtually every illegal immigrant—young or old, victim or veteran, healthy or disabled—has an excellent chance of being exempted from deportation.

Predictably, some Democrats including U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Luis Gutierrez and White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director Cecila Munoz, a former National Council of La Raza Senior Vice President, hailed Obama for what they described as his compassionate, sensible approach to a realistic immigration policy.

In his retort, Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said, "The Obama administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them."

What motivates Obama's rash decision is unclear. Perhaps he's responding to Gutierrez's "Change Takes Courage" campaign that threatens Obama with the frequently made charge that that Hispanic voters will stay home unless the president acts swiftly and boldly to end deportations.

Of course, that's speculation on Gutierrez's part. The facts are that Obama's presidency is in deep, profound trouble. To get re-elected he needs Independent voters of whom there are millions more than there are Latino voters. Obama's duplicity angers most independents.

Nevertheless Obama, defying the Constitution and insulting the majority of Americans who favor immigration law enforcement, has cast his lot with amnesty and open borders proponents. Obama's gamble is a big one that he may rue come November 2012.

Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns, mostly about immigration and related social issues, since 1986. He's a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and his columns are syndicated in various U.S. newspapers and websites. Contact him at JoeGuzzardi@CAPSweb.org.

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