On Meet the Press, President Obama named amnesty for illegal immigrants first in a list of priorities for his second term. This may just be another Lucy-and-the-football moment: Amnesty advocates are justified in their fears that congressional wrangling over the budget and gun control will crowd out immigration and that the administration is just stringing them along again.
Even if lawmakers find time to address immigration in a sustained way, there may be deadlock over the important question of a “comprehensive” versus a “targeted” approach. In other words, should Congress roll all issues related to immigration into one vast bill, as the Democrats would prefer, or should specific, more digestible parts be addressed separately, as with the STEM and DREAM acts?
But let’s put aside the workings of the Capitol Hill sausage factory for the time being. And let’s also stipulate, for the sake of argument, that the “comprehensive” approach is the right one — a deal encompassing legalization for most illegal aliens plus huge increases in future immigration, in exchange for promises of future enforcement. The logic of this approach is the same as that of the 1986 immigration law: Use amnesty to tie up the loose ends of past policy mistakes but crack down in the future to prevent the growth of a new illegal population.
One still needs to ask: Can this administration be trusted to honor such a bargain? Because if it cannot, then the millions of illegal immigrants who get amnesty would just be replaced with millions of new illegal immigrants, able to enter the United States and embed themselves with impunity.
This is not like picking stocks. In politics, past performance is a strong indicator of future results. And this administration’s performance has been appalling in its contempt for law and for the well-being of Americans. Let’s look at just a few recent examples of such contempt.
The most egregious was reported last month by the Boston Globe. The subhead of the story by the paper’s immigration reporter, Maria Sacchetti, summed it up: “US quietly released 8,500 criminals who were supposed to be deported — with deadly consequences.” The State Department takes no meaningful action to pressure foreign countries to take back their own citizens who have committed vicious crimes here. Immigration and Customs Enforcement almost never uses the authority it has to try to hold undeportable criminal aliens beyond the six-month period allowed by the Supreme Court. ICE also seldom tells crime victims or even local police that killers are being released back into the community. And the White House has made no effort whatsoever at getting a legislative fix to give ICE more leeway to hold dangerous criminals until they are deported.