Obama's Immigration Speech - A Comment or Two

I, of course, watched Obama's speech on executive order/action re: immigration. And, I have a few comments.

Note: a link to watch his entire speech is to be found at the bottom of this offering.


1. Most of the speech was taken up as a verbal "apologia" for his to-be-executed executive order/action as opposed to using the time to truly detail his intent. When he described the actual order/actions he was undertaking most seemed, on the surface, to be quite reasonable. For examples: Not applicable to those in this country less than 5 years, applicable persons would be responsible for paying the fees necessary, no tax payer paid benefits, not applicable to criminals, having to pay taxes, etc.

But, in the details of these are some not-so-obvious pitfalls - as I'll discuss.

2. Many have the opinion that such order/action is not within the authority of the president. I am not qualified to have an informed opinion on such legality issues. As an aside, to see SNL's take on this legality controversy Click Here.

However, the president did not offer any reasons as to why his order/action was legal. Well, he did reference that prior presidents had done similar things re: immigration. But, an anology may help here.

My grandfather, in his car, drove over the speed limit and ran a red light. Both are clearly illegal. My father did the same thing. So have I. We were not caught and, thus, were not held accountable. These events do NOT grant my children with a "get out of jail free card" for doing the same thing.

Obama used President Eisenhower as an example of a president who had used executive order/action re: immigration. This is true. However, what Eisenhower did was to deport 80,000 persons here illegally - not let them in the country for a free ride.

Even Pelosi got in the act and "reminded" us that President Lincoln had used an executive order/action/order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. At the time Lincoln did this the Union was at war with the Confederate States of America. His order/action fell under the War Powers Act - not exactly the same situation in which Obama found himself.

If you are interested in the "real" Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, Click Here.

3. Obama offered that he was having to take this order/action now because Congress would not. Well, not quite so fast there, Mr. President.

Why now and not earlier in the year? Could it have to do with trying to shield the Democrats from getting creamed in the 2014 mid-term elections? They got creamed anyway.

How about during the first 2 years of Obama's first term? After all, he promised to do so as part of his campaign. During these first 2 years the democrats had the presidency and BOTH houses of Congress. Such a measure would have easily been passed and become law back then.

The president's supporters have offered that back then the priority was the recession. Were that the true case then why did the president use most of his energy (when not playing golf) working on getting the ACA (i.e., obamacare) passed?

No, the reality was that the Congress (you know, those who are supposed to be representing the PEOPLE) could not come up with an immigration plan or policy to which a majority could agree. And, to this day Congress still can't. And, it has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans.

4. On the illegals being afforded their new-found status:

a. re: They Will Pay Taxes - Will they really? Yes, they will file tax returns. But, because most will have incomes below the threshold of actually "paying taxes", they will be able to claim The Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. In so doing they will actually recieve more than they put in - or, the government will PAY THEM - Using YOUR tax dollars.

b. re: Will They Get Federal Benefits? Well, yes and no. According to the president they will not be eligible for Obamacare (a.k.a. the ACA). BUT, they WILL GET Social Security, Medicare, and a "wide array of other federal benefits" (per a WH spokeperson) under current law. The extent of this "wide array" has not been specified as yet. Not exactly what we were led to believe from the president's speech. And, even though they supposedly will not be eligible for Obamacare, consider this:

If an employer's work force falls under the rules for Obamacare (i.e., over 50 full time employees) AND the employer does NOT offer health care, the employer must pay a fine/penalty of $3,000 per year per employee.

Under Obama's executive order for illegal immigrants, the affected illegals are NOT eligible for Obamacare benefits but receive the right to work here.

Therefore, if an employer hires illegals instead of American workers, then the employer saves $3,000 per year per illegal hired. So, a rational view of this would be that American workers will lose jobs, perhaps many jobs, to illegal aliens with work permits/visas.

Way to look out for the American worker, O!

c. re: No One Here Less Than 5 Years - Oh really! Who most people accurately call an illegal alien, the administration likes to call "undocumented". Has this administration ever looked up the definition of "undocumented"? It means without documentation; or, they can't prove that they have been here for any length of time at all.

So, all they have to do is state that they've been here for at least 5 years. The administration can't prove they are lying. So, . . .

There are those who will respond that the showing of utility bills, pay stubs, etc., would be sufficient proof. Hogwash! There is a growing "business" of producing forged documents to support false claims. (I have a potential solution to this: Click Here.)

What this means, in effect, is that ALL ILLEGAL ALIENS will be able to partake of what the president offers.

d. re: No Criminals - What's a criminal to you and me doesn't seem the be the same as it is to this administration. In fact there are differing levels of "criminals" as pertains to immigration laws - these levels of distinction are important. Only Priority One offenders, as described below, are destined for deportation:

In a memo, DHS chief Jeh Johnson says his department must develop "smart enforcement priorities" to exercise "prosecutorial discretion" in order to best use his agency's limited resources. Johnson establishes three enforcement priority levels to guide DHS officers as they decide whether to stop, hold, or prosecute an illegal immigrant.

Priority One is the "highest priority to which enforcement resources should be directed," the memo says. The category includes "aliens engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage, or who otherwise pose a danger to national security." It also includes "aliens apprehended at the border or ports of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States." In addition, any illegal immigrant convicted of an offense involving a criminal street gang, or convicted of a felony -- provided that immigration status was not an "essential element" of the charge -- is targeted. Finally, any illegal immigrant convicted of an aggravated felony is included in Priority One.

The guidelines say Priority One aliens "must be prioritized" for deportation unless they qualify for asylum or unless there are "compelling and exceptional" factors that indicate the alien is not a threat.

Priority Two offenders, whose cases are less urgent then criminals in Priority One, include the following:

Aliens convicted of a "significant misdemeanor," which for these purposes is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or driving under the influence; or if not an offense listed above, one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or more (the sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and does not include a suspended sentence)

DHS further defines a "significant misdemeanor" as an offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment is one year or less, but greater than five days. In addition, the guidelines contain a possible out for illegal immigrants accused of domestic abuse. "Careful consideration should be given to whether the convicted alien was also the victim of domestic violence," the guidelines say. "If so, this should be a mitigating factor."

Priority Two also includes "aliens convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses, other than minor traffic offenses or state or local offenses for which an essential element was the alien's immigration status." But there's an important footnote to that. The three offenses must arise out of three separate incidents. If an illegal immigrant committed a single act that resulted in multiple misdemeanor charges, it would count as one charge for DHS counting purposes.

The guidelines say Priority Two aliens "should" be removed -- not "must," as with Priority One -- unless they qualify for asylum or there are "factors" indicating the alien is not a threat. It's a significantly lower standard than Priority One.

Finally, Priority Three includes those who have simply violated the nation's immigration laws seriously enough to have been issued a final order of removal. The DHS memo describes them as the "lowest priority for apprehension and removal." They can be allowed to stay not only if they qualify for asylum but also if, "in the judgment of an immigration officer, the alien is not a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or there are factors suggesting the alien should not be an enforcement priority."

In practice, that could prove a remarkably lenient standard. In fact, at this moment there are an estimated 500,000 criminal illegal aliens roaming our streets. These have never been caught, been caught and released, or otherwise have not had our laws applied to them.

e. re: Illegal Border Crossings Are Down - Actually, this is not the case. During the worst of the recent recession years border crossings were down. But, as the economy recoves at its VERY slow pace, border crossings have shown a steady increase.

f. re: All They Have To Is To Apply And Pay The Associated Fees - An "issue problematic" if ever I heard one. There is little likelihood that these people will have the money to pay the fees. They will be given the forms to fill out and be sent on their merry way - most will never fill out the forms nor file the necessary paperwork. Currently, far less than 10% of illegal aliens who have had a court date scheduled to adjudicate their status ever show up. Why does anyone think this will change?

g. re: The Executive Order/Action Is Temporary - Well, not exactly. The new "green cards" have a 3 years duration. However, they may be renewed as often as one desires. So, the executive order/action, itself, may be temporary, but that which it provides is indefinite.

h. re: Border Security Has never Been Stronger - Eine minute, bitte! The president indicated that more resources (assumed to be more money & personnel - although not defined) would be applied at our Southern border. This all well and good. However, the border agents there NOW are restricted from detaining illegals crossing into our country. How does more money and additional personnel who are not allowed to keep our border "safe" help anything?

i. re: They Will Have To Have Background Checks - Now the president is just putting us on. These people are coming from 3rd world countries which, in a large part, didn't want these people anyway. Plus, these people are "undocumented". How long do you suppose such "background checks" might take and could you trust the results?

j. re: Obama's Use Of Scripture To Validate His Executive Order/Action - Nice try, O! But, let's define some terms here. The phrase Obama quoted from the Bible was "We shall not oppress a stranger." The word "stranger" comes from the Hebrew "ger".

A male convert to Judaism is referred to by the Hebrew word ger (Hebrew plural = gerim) and a female convert is a giyoret. The word is related to the term "proselyte" which is derived from the Koine Greek Septuagint translation of the Bible. In Karaite Judaism a Ger is a non-Jew who has yet to fully convert to Judaism. After a Ger converts to Judaism, they are no longer considered a Ger but a full-fledged Jew.

The word "ger" also is derived from the Hebrew verb l'gar meaning "to reside" or "to sojourn [with]". In the Hebrew Bible ger is also defined as a "foreigner", or "sojourner." But, in context with the Bible quotation offered it applies only to a person converting to Judiasm.

Even considering the latter definition of "ger" (i.e. "foreigner", etc.) there is a problem. Consider: A "sorjourner" (i.e., a person who resides temporarily in a place) or even a stranger is someone you don't know, perhaps from a foreign land. However, a person, whoever that person is or wherever they may be from, who enters your home OR your country uninvited is an INVADER. No definiton of "ger" or "stranger" coveys the meaning of invader. Illegal aliens, in fact, are INVADERS in the common understanding of the word - and, therefore, are more than just a "strangers". An invader has performed an illegal act - let's not lose sight of that irrefutable fact.

So, Obama's use of the Bible phrase is null and void as to the context of illegal aliens residing in our country.

NOW, what the president did not provide, among many things: What is to be done with those illegal aliens who do NOT apply? What is his definition of a "secure border"? And, what is to be done with the 500,000 criminal aliens who now walk our streets?

There are lies of Commission, Omission, and Obfuscation. Into which one of these categories does the president's speech fall?

Untruths stated from ignorance, are just that - ignorant!

For those interested in what I feel are adequate immigration reform measures, Click Here; and, for securing our border, Click Here. And, I believe both must be done in parallel.

Finally. for those reading this who feel that my above comments and opinions are without merit, do your own research. I did!

To watch Obama's speech on immigration from 2014, Click Here.