Immigration Plan: Trust Obama?
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation, January 31, 2014
House Republicans say they are ready to move forward with an immigration reform plan—and it sounds remarkably like amnesty for illegal immigrants.
While avoiding key phrases like “path to citizenship,” the ideas put forth by congressional leaders this week would give legal status to people who are here illegally. It would just have more steps, including a probationary period, a work permit—and the government upholding a lopsided part of the bargain.
The plan assumes that border security would be ramped up and immigration laws would be strictly enforced in America. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Members of Congress are prepared to make this deal. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Mr. Ryan said it would make sure that the Obama administration went ahead with the enforcement provisions. “We want to make sure that we write a law that he can’t avoid,” Mr. Ryan said.
Unfortunately, the President seems to be doing quite well avoiding laws he doesn’t like. On immigration, he has already selectively enforced laws, and he went around Congress to implement major portions of the DREAM Act—which had failed in Congress more than 30 times—by executive fiat.
“Policymakers have no real reason to trust the President to uphold any new immigration laws,” Heritage Vice President Derrick Morgan wrote yesterday.
The President and Congress did not pass comprehensive immigration reform during his first two years in office when liberals controlled both Houses of Congress. He now wants conservatives to join him in this unpopular policy, apparently asking them to trust that he will enforce the law in return.
The lure of a rebounding U.S. economy, the promise of eventual amnesty, and the lax enforcement of immigration laws are strong temptations. That’s why amnesty doesn’t work to control illegal immigration; in fact, it just encourages more people to risk sneaking in.
Amnesty is unfair to all Americans who are living in this country legally—whether they were born here or immigrated legally. Millions more are waiting their turn for their opportunity to become Americans, and it’s simply wrong to allow lawbreakers to jump the line.
Why is this a hot topic on Capitol Hill right now? Americans aren’t demanding changes to immigration laws. Heritage’s Morgan reports:
Only 3 percent of the American people think immigration is a top priority. Most have a healthy skepticism of promises to control the border: only 5 percent think it is very likely that a new immigration law will actually seal the border.
It’s true that the immigration system is broken. That’s why Heritage has set out its own recommendations for reforms that would welcome immigrants, protect U.S. citizens, get people into jobs, and secure the border.
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