What Is to Be Done?

danThis week’s spectacle in Congress leads to some pretty obvious questions. If the Democrats can block any challenges to the president’s unprecedented immigration power grab, what can be done? If Congress can’t (or won’t) stop blatantly illegal actions by the Obama Administration, what do we do now?

For many years, we have been concerned about the prospect of a lawless president dispensing immigration benefits for partisan purposes. While the courts have been less than helpful in preventing past abuses, the magnitude of the current breach is without precedent. This administration has hired extremists – people who are both experts in immigration law and hostile to the public interest — who believe neither in deportation nor numerical and financial limits, and they are using the next two years to cement in place policies and practices that have rendered ICE and the Border Patrol useless. That this extremism may inure to the long-term benefit of the Democrats seems to provide suitable motivation among those who ought to know better.

FAIR and this movement have for decades relied upon what some still call the “mainstream media” to scrutinize executive actions and conduct. We no longer can, it seems, at least until the current administration ends. But it’s time to recognize two realities: First, there is no “mainstream media” any longer. While there remain venerable names, such as CNN, NBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times, these are no longer “mainstream publications” because these outlets have been compromised and, in any case, most people get their news elsewhere. These, along with the Los Angeles Times, are just mouthpieces for administration policies no matter how illegal or unreasonable. Worse still, these outlets refuse to use accurate terminology in a daily effort to mislead and confuse the public. We can and must play a role in countering the public confusion and misunderstanding.

Secondly, the people that are managing this administration’s immigration policy are not suitable appointees for the purpose: These include Lucas Guttentag, Cecilia Munoz and Angela Kelley, all of whom lack any concern for the public or national interest. They are lobbyists for interests that seek to destroy this nation’s ability to regulate immigration, and they are not people who can or should handle the public trust. Racialists, like Frank Sharry at America’s Voice, work overtime to try to divide Americans along color lines to achieve partisan objectives – and he works so closely with this White House that he may as well live in it.

It is a sad irony that the motives and intentions of these people is no longer scrutinized, as Sharry refers to “bleached districts” and other offensive and bigoted characterizations to try to play as divisive role as possible. None of these people believes that intending immigrants should ever be expected to respect and comply with our immigration law. It’s doubtful these cynical people can have any real emotional attachment to the millions of illegal immigrants themselves. Rather they view the promotion of mass immigration as furthering ideological or political goals.

The embarrassing breakdown of leadership. The failure of Congress to defund the DHS-Obama amnesty power grab was enabled by unified Democrats in Congress. Their goal: to change the electorate quickly in that party’s favor. There can be no mistake about their intentions, and America faces a true and urgent immigration crisis as a result. Virtually the entire Democrat Party seems prepared to create a quasi-dictatorship to produce unprecedented immigrant admissions, and to sacrifice the rule of law and fundamental fairness to achieve power – even at the expense of sound finance and Americans who desperately need a chance in a fair labor market, better wages and future prospects.  Keep in mind the situation is ripe for over-reach within the Administration. The arrogance of unchecked and absolute power can and will lead to missteps and abuses that must be spotted and exploited for all America to see and hear.

The Administration also prevailed because the Republican leadership preemptively foreclosed its strongest response, insisting that a DHS shutdown would be blamed on Republicans. In accepting the marginalization of Congress and a clear public defeat, the congressional leadership affirmed that Congress has become pretty much irrelevant in the immigration policy decisions of concern to most Americans.

The Democrats now stand for an indefensible proposition: the president claims he can let anyone in and let anyone stay. He can use advance parole, parole in place and deferred action to run his own immigration program and undermine a range of legislative changes since 1996 designed to deter illegal immigration. He claims he has unlimited discretion to ignore the enforcement standards of immigration law – and he has unlimited authority to give work documents (American jobs) to millions of current and future illegal aliens along with an affirmative promise no action will be taken for their removal. All this is called a “prioritization,” or some other fraud.

The president has asserted several Big Lies here: 1) I must establish priorities based on powers inherent in my office because I lack the resources from Congress to deport all illegally present aliens; 2) I must extend this power to manipulate and invent new law to suspend deportation and grant work authorization/public benefits to a class defined solely by myself; and (consistent with a superior sense of royal absolutism); 3) I will veto any effort to modify my powers – the very powers I claimed publicly 22 times I do not actually have.

How to move forward?  Power is being abused, let that be clear. And the major financial backers of the two parties seem oblivious to the threat. We must fill the void with effective leadership and action. First we will need to improve the public’s popular knowledge of today’s complex questions. For those of us who seek to limit immigration to ensure the livability, health, sustainability and survival of our nation and planet, the scene is challenging to say the least. But at least the agenda of those seeking empowerment through immigration is clear. Immigration is not the goal, it is power, plain and simple. Nothing else could explain the administration’s behavior in the face of stagnant wages and yawning income inequality. Understanding motives is critical to fashioning an effective counter-strategy.

Second, we ought to keep in mind that, as poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox said, “Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right!” The president has settled nothing, and stirred up everything. Yes, it is true the President is acting in a lawless fashion, but he is doing so in a manner that will – like an oyster — continually irritate the body politic and draw attention to the basic unfairness of it all. These “temporary status” benefits must be continually renewed. Educating the public becomes easier when it is apparent that benefits are being handed out to those who’ve cheated the system for years, and when it is being done outside the legitimate operations of our democratic system.

Congress can enact laws which this president will veto. But enacting those laws – and the veto itself – helps to highlight presidential malfeasance. In that regard, we expect that the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee will be sending a steady stream of good bills to the floors of Congress.

While Congress may enact a national E-Verify compliance bill with pre-emption language, there remain many rich vehicles for state legislatures to move related bills.  These state bills, which run the gamut from in-state tuition to driver’s licenses, are important both for their needed substance and for the political pressure they place on local politicians as benchmarks for citizen sentiment.

Third, litigation will continue to be an important part of this equation. While courts have persistently refused to hear citizen challenges to administrative malfeasance in lax executive administration, persistence pays and the judiciary is too important a potential ally to ignore in this fight. The 26 states that have challenged the president’s illegal immigration actions suggest strongly that no vehicle to encumber this sort of misbehavior can be neglected.

Lastly, we must push for Senate leader McConnell to adopt the Democrat’s filibuster busting rule. There are many examples now where the president’s robust use of “executive action” is stepping on special interest toes. If Democrats will not act to limit the president’s abuse of executive authority – not just on immigration but on a whole range of issues — then McConnell will have justification to exercise the nuclear option. At that point, the field is wide open.

In short, we have many ways to survive the intentional sabotage of our nation’s immigration controls these next 20 months. But we all must work together.

Keep in mind this administration is attempting to permanently damage this nation’s ability to limit immigration. This president, by his behavior, is attempting to destroy the American people’s right to decide who and how many may enter. We have a president who opposes these laws on ideological and empowerment grounds. This behemoth known as the Executive Branch has only two officials subject to periodic election: the president and the vice president. To respond properly, the public must understand the danger we face to our schools, our finances, our security and our self-determination. Millions will be given documents and benefits without proper screening, criminal aliens will no longer be detected and removed, local and federal police will no longer identify dangerous aliens for removal and, through abuse of parole and related categories, millions more will enter outside of our governing limits and categories.

The American people must be made to understand that this flagrant abuse of executive authority is a calculated threat to our constitutional form of governance. No nation has ever survived the sustained breakdown of its borders and entry controls in recorded history. This is no time to stop, this is no time to let up; we must redouble our efforts — for the generations to come.

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to ImmigrationReform.com, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar

    First of all, its important to understand that this problem didn’t begin with Obama. He is merely continuing the same Open Borders, Globalist agenda that George W Bush and Bill Clinton pursued.

    He may be using different techniques than his predecessors, but the intent remains the same: To permanently overpopulate the US to satisfy the outlandish greed of the Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Agri-business, Food Service, Privatized Prison firms, and other corporate interests who have essentially bought out both political parties and have transformed America into a 21st century Oligarchy.

    Perhaps Americans should adopt a “scorched earth” strategy in which we make life miserable for the foreign nationals as well as politicians, lobbyists, and executives who insist on bringing them over here.

    • avatar

      I can see that you have a large misconception of the so called immagration “problem “, we not only are a nation that Is founded on amnesty for people persecuted for whatever reason but you forget also that anyone who travels a great distance where a differ language is spoken to better the lives of themselves and possibly family. Those are exceptional ones that we want here they are not looking for handouts they want the opportunity that we as Americans often take for granted to the point where we blame social and economic problems on the undeserving. This is not the first time in history this has happened WWII to just name a clear well

      • avatar

        Why should the US continue to allow absurdly high levels of migration when there are essentially two immigrants for every new job that is created?


        Why should Americans allow illegal immigration – and mass legal immigration – to continue unfettered when there is so much crime (often unreported by the corporate media) associated with this large influx of foreign nationals?



        James, you and other open borders proponents need to realize that America is at a point where it can no longer afford to accommodate the masses of the world who want to come here – legally or illegally – for a better life.

  2. avatar

    Dan, I Especially Like Your Comment

    “… they are using the next two years to cement in place policies and practices that have rendered ICE and the Border Patrol useless…”

    We don’t need Sequestration to shut down ICE and the Border Patrol…..we have the open border anarchists doing that and still paying them not to perform.

  3. avatar
    David M. Bell on

    As always, thanks for sharing your keen insight. I’ve been in the trenches on this issue for decades originally coming to it tangentially from a population/environment perspective but evolving over the years with ever greater appreciation and alarm about all the other mounting threats mass-illegal immigration poses, threats that now, I can say with certainty, have reached sufficient critical mass to collectively pose nothing less than an existential threat to this country, especially now that the threat level has taken a quantum leap higher with a lunatic sitting President who has usurped Congress’ authority and is unilaterally using it as a weapon of mass destruction against his own people and country that he hates so much.

    • avatar

      David, my trajectory in getting to immigration was the same as yours. (And FAIR was founded by environmentalists, with the same motive.)

      But I disagree with you in one respect: It’s mass immigration in toto — both illegal AND LEGAL — that is the existential threat to the American future.

      Illegal immigration itself is “just” an epi-phenomenon, made possible by the underlying disaster, which is essentially-out-of-control LEGAL immigration.

      Mark Krikorian’s article “Legal Good / Illegal bad? Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” deals with this memorably: http://www.nationalreview.com/node/221145/print

  4. avatar

    Nothing will change until more Americans become actively involved in this issue. We all know many people who privately agree with us but for reasons best known to them refuse to stand up publicly in support of their own democracy. Many of these people are hypocrites who get teary-eyed on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and on Veterans Day. They wave the flag during events like Freedom Fests, Patriots Day, etc., but will not pick up the phone to call their members of Congress or meet with them when they are in their districts during recesses. As a veteran, I am sorely disappointed in those of my fellow veterans who stand mute in face of a federal government that is working tirelessly to destroy the nation they risked their lives to defend.

  5. avatar
    Jim in Virginia on

    I hate to say it, but I think the game is over. I read an article yesterday that says white children will be a minority in this country by 2018, three years from now. Gee, wonder if these kids will get affirmative action? I seriously doubt it. My Republican congressman has stood against this presidents actions all along. I really appreciate his effort, but the state also has 2 democratic senators who fall lockstep in with Obama. In a couple of weeks, the flood of kids and families from Central America will begin again. The Border Patrol and ICE’s hands are tied by this president. These people will be allowed in and transferred by taxpayer expense to illegals already in the country, completing the smuggling effort. McConnell and Boehner aren’t going to stop this. They are part of the problem. Time is extremely short, I don’t think there is much chance to change the situation. We have allowed our elected leaders to give our country away. I do not think there will be a Republican president in 2016. If I am reading the tea leaves correctly and I think I am, millions of conservatives like me, will be staying home in 2016. Like Ann Coulter said, if Republicans cave on this, why would anyone vote Republican again. She’s right, I can’t justify voting for a Republican again!

  6. avatar

    Mr. Stein, do not make the mistake of believing that either John Boehner or Mitch McConnell’s actions are guided by anything other than the fact that they fully support Obama’s illegal actions for exactly the same reason as the Democrat party. These two men are not Republicans in the purest sense of the word. They are merely ‘holding the seats’ for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and in spite of the ‘R’ after their names, they seek advice from Pelosi and Reid and their decisions are intended to promote Obama’s illegal agenda.
    McConnell is too experienced a politician to need advice on the need of the ‘nuclear option’. He simply has chosen not to invoke it because it would undercut his mission: to ensure that the Senate remains under Democrat control, regardless of which party is ‘officially’ in control of that body.
    No, the problem facing this country is infinitely more serious than what you and others believe, and until we face it, we will not be able to find a solution.

  7. avatar

    On the subject of states passing e-verify, about half of states have some sort of ballot petition that allows citizens to bypass the [bought off] legislatures and put issues on the ballot, and if passed can only be changed by the voters. This is what happened in Oregon, a state that has been deep blue for decades, when the legislature gave licenses to illegals. A citizen petition put it on the ballot and the legislative action was overturned by a 2 to 1 vote, denying those licenses. This is where efforts need to be started. Trusting politicians who say one thing and then do the opposite is useless. If half the states drive illegals to the other states, maybe those states will take action.

    It was a wonderful bit of hypocrisy when a New York Times editorial from 2000 was uncovered in which they categorically stated that amnesty lowers wages for Americans. Now they say the opposite. Of course, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, 2nd richest man in the world, owns 17% of their stock now. The president also had a different tune in 2006 about the effects of illegal immigration on American wages. He said it lowered them. Now he sings another song.

    The other morning on the Today Show there was a whole segment on housing prices in Silicon Valley and how the ordinary person is priced out. Nothing about immigration of course, but organizations like FAIR have been saying for 30 years that this would be the inevitable outcome, but anyone who said it was called a racist. Naturally these same people will keep voting for the mass immigration proponents like Jerry Brown, Nancy Pelosi, and Diane Feinstein. Stupid is as stupid does.

  8. avatar

    Dan Stein provides the best and only answer as to what has to be done to stop the lawlessness and dismantling of our Consitutional system by Emperor Obama. The Republican response to a united front by Democrats in Congress that refuses to even consider blocking President Obama’s unlawful nation-wrecking executive amnesty decree, must be this: Use the NUCLEAR OPTION! The U.S. Senate must end the filibuster entirely. We cannot allow 41 Senators to stop this nation from dealing with our mass illegal immigration crisis. Unlawful executive amnesties and non-enforcement policies must be ended. The filibuster has a long tradition but is not even mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. This Obama executive amnesty emergency (unfortunately) requires risks and drastic action by the United States Senate majority as the clock is ticking on this nation’s very survival.

  9. avatar

    Its a terrible thing when you elect people who say they aggree with you on immigration policy and then get elected and do nothing .this predident is being allowed to get away with all he does because he is black and nobody wants to admit it for fear of being called a raceist. the big problem is we cant allow him to gut our system for almost two more years so someone is going to have to stand up to him with more than just words. it is not only the democrats but many republicans are catering to the illegals by trying to pacify there relatives who are here legally such as dean heller for one ,I know him as I helped vote him in.he will tell anyone anything to get the vote and i remember when harry reid was on the american peoples side until he decided he might not get elected again if he didnt get the hispanic vote so he did a turn around. so if we cant trust what they tell us what do we do.? we should be able to remove them from office if they dont keep there word that would solve the problem. meanwhile i dont know.