At a press conference in Mexico during his first year in office, on August 10, 2009, President Obama said that he would push an amnesty bill through Congress. He predicted that before the year was over draft legislation would be moving forward, but that such legislation would have to wait to become law until the next year, 2010, after health care, energy, and financial regulatory reform. The President, who at the time had an approval rating of 54%, said:
Am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done? No. This is going to be difficult. It’s going to require bipartisan cooperation. There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable. And those are fights that I’d have to have if my poll numbers are at 70 or if my poll numbers are at 40. That’s just the nature of the U.S. immigration debate.”
Of course, the President’s legislative plans did not proceed as he had foreseen. He spent the rest of the year and much of the next pushing through only his health care bill, arriving at energy and financial regulatory reform not long before the 2010 elections, at which point the Democrats lost their majority in the House, and with it the ability to ram through immigration legislation without Republican input.
Now the President, whose poll numbers are indeed hovering near 40, no longer believes that he can convince Republicans to give him his way on immigration. But rather than accept the verdict of democracy, the President has decided that granting mass amnesty does not “require bipartisan cooperation,” after all. Rather, he has decided he will simply snap his fingers and “get this done.” Pro amnesty advocates such has the National Council of La Raza say that they expect him to take unilateral action at the end of the summer, prior to Congress’ return from recess on September 8. Americans therefore should find out in a few weeks just how far the President means to go in acting unilaterally, unless the public’s strong opposition convinces him to wait until the November midterms are safely past before revealing the full extent of his planned executive amnesty.
Read more at FAIR’s President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.