Point-by-Point Refutation of Obama Speech

Obama_Chesh_2Almost every word that came out of President Obama’s mouth during his White House address on executive amnesty was false, misleading, or completely irrelevant. The following is a point-by-point analysis of his address to the nation:

“Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules.”

In the past this has been the case because of neglect on the part of previous administrations. Under this administration, allowing people to flout the rules – so long as they do not commit violent felonies once they’re here – is stated policy.

“Business owners who offer their wages good wages benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less.”

When Obama came to office in 2009, actual, meaningful workplace enforcement was carried out. Obama immediately halted it and replaced it with worthless paperwork audits that resulted in illegal aliens being fired, rehired by other employers, but not removed. The employers themselves got off with warnings, or a slap on the wrist.

“All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.”

Not all of us take offense – most notably the president. It is also not clear that illegal aliens want to embrace responsibilities. Many just want to live, work and collect benefits here. Even if it were true that they desperately want to embrace responsibilities does not mean that our immigration laws must provide everyone an opportunity to do so. Limiting immigration is a necessary function of protect the interests of Americans who desperately want to embrace responsibilities.

People who break laws risk having families torn apart. In every other circumstance we hold them responsible for the consequences to their families. There is no justification for making an exemption for immigration law breakers – especially since they are free to take their families with them when they go.

“It’s been this way for decades. And for decades we haven’t done much about it. When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system.”

When he took office he had solid Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. If he was so committed, he would have acted.

“And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half.”

Apparently what he could do wasn’t much. The number of illegal aliens living in the U.S. has increased on his watch. Manpower and technology are only effective if the administration in power has the will to use them.

There is no way to count illegal border crossings; we estimate them by apprehensions. Apprehensions can be reduced for two reasons: Fewer people are actually crossing, or fewer people are being apprehended. The latter seems to be the case. Border Patrol officers report that they are being told to turn a blind eye to people coming across illegally.

If the border is so secure, how have tens of thousands of toddlers managed to make across so easily?

“Although this summer there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border…”

The president dismisses this as an insignificant aberration, when it is anything but. “Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

“The number of such children is actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years.”

First, how do you know? You can only count the ones you know about. The timeframe he chooses coincides precisely with the announcement of DACA. In other words, the best case scenario is that the numbers are the lowest since he created an incentive for minors to come across en masse.

“Overall the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.”

Whose facts? DHS is notoriously stingy with data and you can’t count the people you don’t catch. The fact that the illegal population is rising indicates that people are still coming in large numbers. Moreover, many people who used to sneak across the border illegally are being issued visas so they can come here (and often remain illegally) here without entering illegally.

“Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of bill a simple yes or no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties. And today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.”

He may be correct that it would have passed. But there is nothing in the Constitution that compels either house of Congress to vote on a measure just because the president really, really wants them to. Every president since George Washington has been frustrated by Congress. That’s how the framers wanted it. That’s how it has worked for more than 200 years. There is nothing that says when a president becomes frustrated with Congress that he can act on his own.

“First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over.”

Translation: We’re going to throw money at the problem. We’ll have more people standing around looking the other way as people come across the border illegally. We will continue to do next to nothing to enforce laws in the workplace and we will continue to ignore the 6-7 million illegal aliens who do not qualify for executive amnesty as long as they refrain from committing heinous crimes.

“Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous.”

What, exactly, in his speech, or in his actions over the past six years would qualify as holding illegal aliens accountable?

“That’s why over the past six years deportations of criminals are up 80 percent, and that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security.”

What about the thousands of criminal aliens who have been turned loose?

“Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law e enforcement does every day.”

All law enforcement agencies prioritize, but they continue to enforce laws against lesser offenders.

“And let’s be honest, tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you.”

This is a straw man. Nobody is suggesting this. The alternative to amnesty is removing all of the incentives and benefits to living here illegally and allowing illegal aliens to make rational choices and, yes, deporting people when we catch them.

“After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard often in tough, low paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of the kids are American born or spent most of their lives here. And their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.”

Translation: if you get away with breaking the law long enough it is okay. It’s okay to break our immigration laws as long as you go to church and you have hopes and dreams? Patriotism? Is he referring to the hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets waving foreign flags.

“We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded.”

Seriously? Then why has he systematically restricted enforcement for the past six years? And what is the program he is announcing if not a reward?

“So we’re going to offer the following deal:”

Why do we have to offer a deal to millions of people who broke the law?

“If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation.”

How do you do meaningful criminal background checks on 5 million people? If it wasn’t so dangerous the notion would actually be laughable.

For most of the beneficiaries their “fair share of taxes” will be zero. They will be tax filers, not taxpayers. They will join the 47% of people who do not make enough to pay any net federal taxes. They will, however, qualify for the EITC and other credits.

They’re not exactly living in fear of deportation right now, thanks to Obama.

“You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

First of all, they’re not exactly in the shadows. Second, getting right with the law should mean obeying it.

“This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future.”

Translation: This doesn’t apply to anyone who isn’t smart enough to produce a doctored document back dated more than five years. It may not apply to future illegal aliens, but there is also no credible threat that the law will be enforced against them either. It will produce a new wave of illegal immigration, much like DACA led to a surge in minors.

“I know some of the critics of the action call it amnesty. Well, it’s the not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today. Millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That’s the real amnesty, leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair.”

Translation: It’s not amnesty because I say it’s not amnesty. What we have now is not amnesty. What we have is a president who defiantly refuses to enforce the law, which is very different from giving people legal status. They will not be paying taxes – they’ll be filing tax returns. They will be playing by the rules – new rules created just for them because they refused to play by the old rules.

“What I’m describing is accountability. A common sense middle- ground approach. If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

How are they being held accountable? How is this “common sense middle ground”? And, more importantly, why should the American people, who are the victims of illegal immigration, be asked to split the difference with the illegal aliens (even if the president’s plan was actually a down-the-middle compromise)?

“If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported.”

That’s a pretty definitive statement that isn’t backed up by his six-year record.

“If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.”

“Just went up” is a relative statement. The odds are still heavily in favor of the lawbreaker. Also, we heard the same assurances of being sent back with regard to the border surge illegal aliens. So far that has not been backed up with action.

“The actions I’m taken are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century.”

Not according to Barack Obama, who on numerous occasions said that these actions would not be lawful. Was he lying to us then, or is he lying to us now? Even if it were true that what he is doing is comparable to what past presidents did, it does not justify him breaking the law. Moreover, nothing previous presidents did was on the magnitude of what he is doing.

“And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

The president has no constitutional authority to order Congress to pass a bill. Even worse, this is a form of extortion: Pass a bill I want, or I will do what I want anyway.

“Meanwhile, don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal breaker on every issue. That’s not how our Democracy works, and Congress shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this.”

If Congress votes to defund this amnesty and he vetoes it, it would be Obama who shuts down the government.

“Most Americans support the types of reforms I’ve talked about tonight.”

Only if you cook the polls by presenting unrealistic options and inaccurate information. There is even less support for him acting alone.

“I know some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time they already feel they’ve gotten a raw deal for over a decade. I hear those concerns, but that’s not what these steps would do.”

How will granting work authorization to 5 million illegal aliens not stick it to the middle class?

“Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society.”

Comparing America, the world, and the economy of the 19th or 20th centuries with that of the 21st century is patently absurd.

“Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law?”

Our leaders certainly are those types of people. The American people never have been. They have consistently wanted their government to enforce laws – a desire that has been consistently ignored. Now, the vast majority of Americans who were forced to accept mass lawlessness, are the ones being asked to pay the price for it.

We can offer illegal aliens a chance to get right with the law: Obey the law and go home.

“Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families and works together to keep them together?”

Nothing more than a cheap and factually false emotional appeal. We don’t rip kids from their parents’ arms. If families are separated by enforcement of immigration laws it is the responsibility of the people who break the law. It can also be remedied by them returning to their homelands with their kids. The president is sanctioning the use of kids as human shields.

“Over the past years I’ve seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government, and at risk any moment of losing it all just to build a better life for their kids. I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers.”

Another cheap emotional appeal. “Determination” does not give people the right to come or remain here illegally. The president also ignores the fact that mass illegal immigration is making it difficult for American citizens to build a better life for their kids – and that’s who the laws are meant to protect.

“I’ve seen the courage of students who except for the circumstances of their birth are as American as Malia or Sasha, students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in the country they love.”

True, not every kid is lucky enough to be born into the circumstances of Malia and Sasha. Not every kid has parents who are wealthy enough to send them to the most expensive private schools in Washington. That’s known as life.

“Scripture tells us, we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger.”

Scripture tells us lots of things. It tells us that nations have a legitimate right to have their laws respected. It tells us we can only be charitable with our own resources, not our neighbors’ jobs, tax dollars, or children’s educations and opportunities. Being kind and treating all people with respect and dignity does not mean that we have to let them violate our immigration laws.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. Pingback: Here are the 9 Bullet Points the President Didn’t Mention in His 10-Point Immigration Speech Last Month

  2. avatar

    On November 20 0f this year, President Barack Obama used his executive powers to push through what appears to be a very thorough and expanded version of the DACA, the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals. Expanding programs and allowing members of the lawful permanent residents eligibility to work, after a background check. Improving and clarifying immigrant and non immigrant programs, which will grow with the changes of the economy and allow for the creation of jobs. Expand waivers for unlawful members of a lawful permanent residents, including spouses and children. According to a recent Brookings Institute poll, 62% of US citizens agree with a path to legalization for those that have been in the states for many years. Keeping the policies on a family based system, will keep families together. Many communities recognize the potential revenue immigrants bring into their US homes. Immigrant owned businesses brought $776 billion in receipts for 2007. In 2010, 18% of Fortune500, creating 3.6 million jobs. Understanding the true impact immigrants have on the economy paints a different picture of how important they are to the economic structure of the United States.

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  4. Pingback: We heard the President, but did he hear the American people?

  5. avatar
    Diogenes for truth on

    This piece is written by someone with an agenda. A refutation is meant to disprove. Even a strong argument from purely factual premises is open to refutation unless it takes into account all relevant facts. In the face of Ira Mehlman’s “points” listing Obama’s statements which go against his agenda, he resorts to name calling instead of citing actual facts. His so-called refutations are not that at all; they’re merely his opinions and items according to his own agenda. I’m 100% against blanket amnesty, but that’s because I’ve watched emergency rooms close their doors due to unpaid expenses incurred by treating illegals. I’ve watched school kids being dumbed down because we have to cater to non-English speaking children. I’ve watched my school taxes go up because someone has to pay for all the “ESL” classes where we try to teach these illegal kids to speak English (with no support from their parents because they won’t learn English themselves). He needs to find actual facts and rewrite this opinion piece.

    • avatar

      FAIR’s websites contain all sorts of facts, research and suggested reading on the immigration issue. One blog post is not intended to contain every fact relevant to the immigration issue. I suggest you start reading their websites if you want more facts.

  6. avatar

    “If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported.” OK, I thought they are criminals, after all they broke our laws and are here ILLEGALLY! Or is that not considered being a criminal in his book?

  7. avatar
    Carl Blankemeyer on

    This piece is obviously well-intentioned, but in my view short on numbers to back up your statements, and a little high on emotion which has resulted in the writer including numerous spelling and syntax errors. I support FAIR, but this write-up strikes me as an overly caustic, and factually weak attempt at refuting King Obama’s statements. I get your [point, but I wish there was more verifiable data in this piece to share with my non-believer friends.

  8. avatar

    The biggest problem with Obama’s “Executive Action” is it is all based on votes for the Democrats for ONE. TWO, the Republicans have an immigration reform sitting on Harry Reid’s desk along with more than 350 other bills that he will not move and is obstructing anything the House is doing and will not even negotiate. THREE, Americans are to come first……..PERIOD………There are too many Americans out of jobs and to give work visas in the millions right now to illegal immigrants is going to make a poorer America. FOUR, Our VETRANS should come first. They and children and elderly are MORE important than people that come here ILLEGALLY. FIVE, Black Americans need jobs much more than illegal immigrants do. SIX, Obama should have given the new Congress time to come into office and put together a reform bill. This just proves it was politically based on Obama’s part. Very obvious. SEVEN, WE do not reward criminals. EIGHT, it has been proven, the majority of the people DO NOT want Amnesty or Obama’s reform. We are tired of our tax dollars supporting people that do not respect us or our laws. NINE, We the People are TIRED of this administrations lying as well as our past administrations making promises that they do not keep when they give Amnesty. TEN, we are damned tired of Obama’s lawlessness. We the People pay his salary and should not have to put up with him not following the Constitution when the rest of us do to make life easier for all. A president needs to be held accountable just as anyone else does when not following our laws.

  9. avatar

    Why not craft a sweetheart deal with Mexico, since that seems to be the lion’s share? A Mexican citizen can reside, work, and own property in the US. Likewise, any US citizen can reside, work, and own property in Mexico. That would that the wind out of the bag considerably.

    • avatar

      If you think Mexico will do that, you are dreaming.

      We’ve become the perfect depository for low-wage, low-education Mexicans who do not produce for their economy.

      • avatar

        And don’t leave out the “criminals”, which they all are once they cross our boarder illegally.

  10. avatar

    He is incentivising foreign mothers to give birth in the US. He recommends that the illegal parents of US citizen born children be given protection, but he does not offer the same deal to illegal aliens that did not take advantage of the anchor baby loophole. Why not incentivize the one who more consciencious.

    • avatar
      Harry J Schaubel on

      America’s biggest mistake. “Anchor Babies”. Parents should be deported and take their babies with them.

  11. avatar

    Executive order by Obama is more about political game for 2016 rather than any impactful action. If after 2016 new president reverses the executive order or takes step to start deportation what will happen to those who can out in light and started working as per the current order.
    There is no log term visibility in current Executive order/Action, it is just a political game.

  12. avatar

    Obama, you are a disgrace to the office of the President. You have violated the Constitution in so many ways. You are unmaking the America we fought so hard to create. Shame on you.

  13. avatar

    To all the anti enforcement zealots out there, you are right, the American people do not have the stomach to deport everyone that has entered illegally. But what they can and are willing to to do is the fine the crap out of anyone, be they an individual, business, charity, municipality or state that aids and abets them. If we used asset forfeiture practices on those who hire, provide aid and comfort or benefits to illegals, the invasion will stop almost overnight.
    Furthermore, those here illegally would have no choice but to return to their homeland since the freebie spigot would be shut off.
    If we are a sovereign Nation of laws then we need to demand that our so called elected officials enforce all the laws. Our immigration system is not broken, it’s just simply not being enforced in order to pander to illegals as potential new voters and a new batch indentured slaves beholding to the Chamber of Commerce and the political establishment!
    What Obama the Usurper has done is effectively created another class of people, not citizens, not resident aliens, just pawns in a political game!

    • avatar

      Don’t speak for me…..I definitely have the stomach to deport every last one of them. After this we will have all their names, addresses and Social Security numbers which will make it a lot easier. Also HHS has admitted it would be cheaper in the long run to deport them all.

  14. avatar

    The president is correct…………and all of you guys do not realize this does not give them a green card nor a citizenship……..at least we know who they are and they will pay their taxes………….this is no amnesty in any way. I am glad the president did at least something. But now the FAT/OLD Congress members have to move to fix this…………..

    • avatar

      Does Obama’s unilateral edict include amnesty for those who are using false or stolen social security numbers? Both of those are serious crimes. ID theft is a state crime. Will the states be able to prosecute?

      • avatar

        His social security number is also stolen and that is a proven fact. Maybe he is doing this to protect himself after he is no longer in office. He might be worried he will be deported since he is not legal either. Stolen SS#, student loan obtained as a foreign student, and the list goes on.

    • avatar

      Osama Obama has never been vetted, His records are sealed, ( maybe he is a criminal, Dope Dealer, or other heinous criminal). We do not know nor can he be Trusted because he uses his teachings from Saul Alinsky to demean anyone to find out who he is. One thing we do realize is that he is extremely prejudiced against White Folks, Christians and US Military Veterans and he has went for the jugular of Appalachians, Coal miners and those that work hard to make a living. His arranged Ferguson Riots about to Occur will be the first pre-arranged Riots by our Government. His cover-ups of Benghazi Massacre, Ft. Hood Massacre aka workplace violence, Muslim Terrorists at the Boston Marathon, Black Panther voter Fraud and countless episode of failure to enforce our Laws make it a Criminal Action on his Accord. He must be tried as a criminal or our Constitution is unworkable, unenforceable and we should have to live by the laws of violence and mayhem.

  15. avatar

    How can anyone look up to this POS, after this lawless action and the mendacity that pervaded his speech?

  16. avatar

    These proposals were pretty much exactly what were proposed in 2007 during the Bush administration. I am not an admirer of Bush, I think he pushed into a quagmire in Iraq for no reason, but when it comes down to it, Bush very much pushed for an amnesty just like this one. Not once did he say if Congress doesn’t pass what I want I will do it by executive action.

      • avatar

        I have told you before, under your various aliases, that I am not a Republican. Bush was an awful president.

    • avatar

      It was agreed that Weapons of Mass Destruction existed by Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and other Demorat Leaders of that era and President Bush went into Iraq with our Military and secured a Victory until Osama Been Lying pulled our Military out and did not leave a force to reckon with ISIS. If Demorats feel good about allowing ISIS to burn the Christians, Behead them, Maim or cut off their limbs then there is nothing that can be done for their Barbaric Wishes. If George W. Bush were President now we would certainly know that ISIS would not be running rampant in Iraq.
      Osama Obama is an Evil person and is a danger to our Society. His skills as a Leader is non-existent and he is an ungodly Muslim terrorist and has appointed unworthy Muslims to government Positions.