Matthew Vadum: To Amnesty 5 Million

Ignoring the brutal, historic slap-down angry American voters gave his party this month, President Obama unveiled plans for a unilaterally imposed amnesty that will shield an estimated 5 million illegal aliens from deportation.

Whether Republicans, now in possession of a thunderous mandate to fight Obama tooth and nail, will fight this despotic usurpation of the lawmaking powers of Congress remains to be seen.

Obama doesn’t care. He is pressing on, hoping to fill America with millions of new Democrat voters. And he’s going to kill American jobs in the process.

“We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules,” said the president. The address from the White House came yesterday, which just so happened to be Revolution Day (also known as Civil War Day) in Mexico.

“We expect those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded,” the president continued. Yet Obama went on to propose just such a reward in the form of a special “deal” for unlawful immigrants:

So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

Strangely, Obama, who routinely flouts the Constitution, still acknowledges some limits to his power. The deal, he said, does not apply to recently arrived illegal aliens or illegals who have yet to sneak into the country.

“It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive,” Obama said. “Only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.”

Whether the benefits illegal aliens receive are as generous as benefits that citizens receive is beside the point. Illegal aliens are already eligible for extensive benefits from the government and Obama is a big believer in getting poor people addicted to welfare. No serious person believes illegals won’t have access to social programs.

In the address Obama played semantic games. What he’s doing is not an amnesty, he said:

Amnesty is the immigration system we have today. Millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That’s the real amnesty, leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair.

The former part-time adjunct constitutional law lecturer has it wrong. A failure to enforce a law isn’t tantamount to amnesty. Amnesty is an official governmental act of forgiveness that excuses a violation of the law. Being in a state of legal limbo in which law enforcement hasn’t yet called your number isn’t the same as amnesty.

Nor is the immigration system broken, at least not in the way Obama means.

When progressives say the system is broken, they mean it is functioning in a less than optimal manner, failing to capture every single prospective illegal alien available to wade across the Rio Grande or walk across the nation’s largely undefended border with Mexico. To them, immigration policy is a taxpayer-subsidized get-out-the-vote scheme for Democrats and the best reform they could imagine would be to abolish America’s borders altogether. Obama’s new amnesty plan is a step in this direction.

It is also a profoundly cynical move that rewards lawbreaking and begets future immigration amnesties. It will spell electoral death for the Republican Party in coming years because Latinos, who are believed to comprise the bulk of the illegals, have traditionally shown a strong preference for the Democratic Party and its left-of-center public policies. The amnesty for 5 million illegals is likely just the beginning. The government recently issued a procurement order seeking a contractor to make as many as 34 million immigration documents over the coming five years.

During his address, Obama quoted the Book of Exodus, saying:

Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.

But the immigrants in question are not the legal immigrants of the past who followed the rules when they came to this country. They are invaders who broke the law and who continue to break the law by being here. America is not, nor has it ever been, a nation of illegal immigrants.

To qualify for relief from deportation, individuals will have to register with the government, pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, and pay a processing fee, according to a White House handout. Applications can’t be filed until early next year.

Parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents as of the date of the announcement are eligible, provided that they are not “enforcement priorities” and have been present in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010. Also eligible are individuals who arrived in this country before Jan. 1, 2010 and before turning 16 years old, regardless of how old they are now. Processing times for certain categories of green card applicants will be accelerated. Recent arrivals who entered the country after Jan. 1 of this year will not be eligible to apply.

Obama lapdogs were ecstatic about the planned amnesty.

Echoing Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) who absurdly compared Obama’s executive order to the Emancipation Proclamation, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked, “Does the public know that the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order?”

Except that the Emancipation Proclamation freed categories of slaves, innocent people victimized by an abhorrent institution, not illegal aliens who took it upon themselves to invade the country and abuse the goodwill of Americans. The only thing the two executive orders have in common is that a president signed them.

Republicans are deeply split on the amnesty issue so anyone expecting Republican lawmakers to give Obama a well-deserved rhetorical mauling two weeks after the GOP crushed Democrats in midterm elections will be disappointed in coming days. That’s not what the emasculated party of Lincoln does because it is terrified of being called racist for opposing the nation’s first (half) black president.

Despite running a virtually content-free campaign, on Nov. 4 the GOP flipped control of the 100-seat U.S. Senate, winning at least 53 seats as of this writing. The House GOP increased its majority, winning at least 244 out of 435 seats. In the new year Republicans will control at least 31 state governors’ mansions and at least 68 of the 99 state legislative chambers across the country (Nebraska’s legislature has only one chamber). In at least 23 states Republicans will control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature. Democrats can make the same claim about only 7 states.

The election was arguably, depending on the psephological metrics used, the worst showing for the Democratic Party in its history.

Despite the newly enfeebled status of the Democrats, the House GOP’s response was predictably weak. Instead of righteously inveighing against the grave threat that Obama’s actions pose to the republic, on Twitter the official House Republican feed meekly exhorted the president to cooperate with them.

“We need a real fix, not a quick fix. Let’s fix our broken immigration system together,” read one GOP tweet. Another said, “Mr. President, stop acting alone. Let’s work together.” Maybe the GOP’s communications professionals would like to roast some s’mores and sing Kumbaya with the president.

And Obama must be quaking in his jackboots. Even after six years of getting beaten to a pulp, constantly sucker-punched by the nation’s Alinskyite president, congressional Republicans still aren’t anywhere close to grasping what he really is. They continue to treat Obama as if he’s a legitimate, sincere president who actually wants to do what’s best for America. They foolishly believe Obama cares about his falling public approval numbers and his presidential legacy. They refuse to acknowledge that he is a radical revolutionary figure hellbent on destroying, or in his own words, fundamentally transforming, the U.S. They actually seem to think Obama is interested in negotiating with them to find policy solutions that benefit the country. Many elected GOPers appear not to have an inkling that embracing amnesty is the same as signing a death warrant for the Republican Party.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who supports amnesty in principle but is under intense pressure from conservative lawmakers, is trying to put down a rebellion in his own House GOP conference. Although Obama has previously protested that he is not a king or an emperor, “he’s sure acting like one,” Boehner, who may face a challenge to his speakership in January, said yesterday.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was characteristically vague.

“If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act,” he said.

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told USA Today earlier this week that Obama’s amnesty could spark civil unrest. “The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation.”

“You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy … You could see violence,” Coburn said. Obama will be behaving like “an autocratic leader that’s going to disregard what the Constitution says and make law anyway.”

“Instead of having the rule of law handling in our country today, now we’re starting to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithesis of what this country was founded on,” he said. “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president … then why should it apply to me?”

House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) appears to have taken the wrong lesson from the electoral bloodbath this month that set Democrats back 150 years. Although voters delivered the message that they want Obama stopped, Rogers interprets the election as a mandate for surrender.

“I believe a major consequence of this election is a loud and clear mandate from the American people for Washington to stop the gridlock, work together across ideological lines and start producing real accomplishments on their behalf,” Rogers wrote in an op-ed.

Rogers wants Congress to pass a long-term funding bill called an omnibus appropriations bill before the government’s authority to spend money expires on Dec. 11. It would keep the government operating for the rest of the federal fiscal year which runs to Sept. 30, 2015.

There will be “an extraordinary amount of work to do when the new Congress convenes in January … but there simply won’t be the political bandwidth available to address these pressing issues if Congress is bogged down in old battles and protracted to-do lists.”

Some Republicans have proposed defunding the parts of the government that would process amnesty-related paperwork.

Separately, Rogers has made the absurd suggestion that Congress approve a big, all-encompassing spending bill now and then rescind amnesty-relating funding next year. Rescissions happen but they’re relatively rare. Why bother giving Obama a green light to proceed with the amnesty now in the hope of slamming on the brakes in the new year?

The real problem with enacting an omnibus spending bill, according to Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, is that such a funding measure “would enable Obama to complete his lawless amnesty scheme.”

Rogers insists that the amnesty cannot be stopped through the appropriations process.

It would be “impossible to defund President Obama’s executive order through a government spending bill,” House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said yesterday, explaining that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded by user fees.

It is a facile, easily disproved argument. USCIS, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is part of the federal government. It was created by Congress and Congress can do anything it wants to it. It can give it money, take money away from it, give it a spanking, or order it to stand on one leg and bark like a dog.

In a development overshadowed by the unveiling of the amnesty, DHS announced yesterday that it will grant “temporary protected status” to up to 8,000 people from the Ebola-afflicted African countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. These visitors may apply for work permits for 18 months. Unlike ordinary recipients of temporary protected status, these Ebola refugees will not be allowed to travel to their home countries and then return to the U.S., in order to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Or so the story goes. If Obama can find a way to let them stay in the U.S., he’ll do it.