Brace yourselves…executive action on immigration policy is coming.
Next week, President Obama is scheduled to reveal a 10-point, comprehensive immigration reform plan through executive action. The plan’s most controversial provisions would expand deferred action and halt deportations for millions of illegal immigrants.
Although Republicans have repeatedly warned Obama against going over the heads of the House and Senate on the issue of immigration, the President has vowed “not to wait” for Congress to act.
Republican warnings don’t seem to have as much persuasive power as donor dollars, and Obama has those flowing in by the bucket. Immigration reform has become a pet project of the left, and over the last decade left wing organizations and NGOs have pumped millions into groups backing radical immigration reform—and now those groups are expecting Obama to keep his promise to stop deportations.
The calls started shortly after President Obama’s news conference on the day after the midterm elections. He had said he would go ahead with action on immigration before year’s end, in spite of warnings from Republicans that he could wreck relations with the new Congress they will control. White House officials were calling immigrant advocates to talk strategy and shore up their support.
The officials wanted to reassure them, several activists said, that the president, after delaying twice this year, was ready to take the kind of broad measures they had demanded to shield immigrants here illegally from deportation.
The White House calls — and the president’s decision itself — reflected the clout the immigrant movement has built up in recent years, as it grew from a cluster of scattered Washington lobbying groups into a national force.
A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the last decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Obama’s plan to bypass Congress could have consequences far beyond those immediately related to the status of illegal immigrants. Currently, Republicans are trying to work out how to fight on immigration without triggering another government shutdown. Congress needs to pass a funding measure to keep the government running after December, and some are calling on Speaker Boehner to pull funding for new visas as a way to derail the President’s plans.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, who is crafting a yearlong so-called “omnibus” spending measure, warned that effort could trigger a shutdown, and insisted no one wants to go down that road.
“There’s no one stronger than me against unilateral action by the President on this subject, however it’s been said before – don’t take a hostage you can’t shoot,” Rogers told reporters after a meeting with all House Republicans on Thursday.
The debate over how to confront Obama is posing a sudden challenge for Republican leaders fresh off their victories during last week’s midterm elections, which gave them control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in nearly a decade. A day after the election, Mitch McConnell, who will become Senate majority leader in January, said Republicans would take positions Obama wouldn’t like but pledged not to shut down the government.
Politics aside, some wonder why all of the focus seems to be on illegal immigration, while those who attempt to come to the United States legally are being shunted aside. (I’ve personally wondered why we focus so much on political stereotypes like “the American dream,” and less on why that dream came to be—have we forgotten that the naturalization relationship is a two way street? Are we trying to help workers, or help progressive politicians earn political capital with Ford?)
Still others believe Obama’s efforts to overhaul immigration alone could be an impeachable offense:
Our lame duck president is a dangerous president, and the reason has nothing to do with immigration specifically. Time and again, Barack Obama has demonstrated that he has more regard for his own agenda than for the will of the people, the duty of the legislature, and the requirements of the Constitution.
Our current crisis has less to do with H-2As and H-2Bs, and more to do with a President who refuses to respect the job he was trusted with, and a large group of donors and activists who refuse to entertain the fact that he might.DONATE
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