The Corner

No Wonder the President Did Not Take Questions about Immigration

The president has made a lot of political assumptions in his decision to give de facto amnesty from enforcement of immigration law to at least 800,000, mostly Latino, illegal aliens:

a) that the Left, which always monitors presidential abuse of power, has no problem with his rule by fiat as we saw with the about-face on renditions and Guantanamo, despite the fact that neither the judiciary nor the legislative branches have been willing to circumvent federal immigration law. Instead, an imperial presidency is apparently the necessary means to achieve the desired ends;

b) that with 41 months of 8-plus percent unemployment there is not much concern that we are legitimizing hundreds of thousands of new workers when millions of poorer Americans are looking for work;

c) that few care that the president’s act is illiberal to the core, in facilitating cheap labor for well-off employers at the expense of harming the wage aspirations of U.S. citizen entry-level and unskilled workers;

#more#d) that the cynicism of circumventing the Congress in an election year won’t matter to the elite Latino political community that considers tribal solidarity and future voters far more than the high unemployment rates of U.S. citizens of Mexican and Latin-American heritage;

e) that voters don’t care that Obama has established a pattern of using administrative edicts to please favored constituencies in an us/them election year in order to make up for the loss of the independent voter;

f) that we have turned enforcement of federal law into a political and ethnic issue, in which the president is not worried about enforcement or non-enforcement of immigration law as it pertains to aliens in general, but rather sees the issue only as an Hispanic, and more specifically Mexican-American, political issue;

g) that it remains taboo to talk of the costs of illegal immigration, and that a state such as California, for example, which is now running a deficit of billions of dollars cannot correlate unpleasant facts (e.g., 70 percent of the last 10 million new Californians are on Medicaid, schools have dropped to 48th and 49th in national English and math test scores, taxes are among the highest in the nation and are on the ballot to increase, over 50 percent of incoming freshmen at the CSU system must take remediation courses, etc.) with the recent influx of millions of illegal aliens into the state.

h) that the unions, so vocal in Wisconsin, will be entirely silent about this new source of cheaper labor, so favored by employers in the hospitality industry, construction, landscape, agriculture, etc.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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