Almost 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.