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Joe Guzzardi: Obama Administration’s ‘Backdoor Amnesty’ Circumvents Congress

White House aims to unilaterally allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay at large

In one corner stands House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, who favors enforcing all of America’s laws, including those that regulate immigration. Across the ring is President Barack Obama, who picks and chooses which laws should be enforced and appears to believe that enforcing immigration law is inconvenient.

In recent weeks, Capitol Hill insiders have discovered that the Obama administration is working furiously behind the scenes to create what’s called a “backdoor amnesty.” Obama and members of Congress who support amnesty know that they don’t have a chance to pass legislation that would eventually lead to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens. Instead, they have taken a stealth path that allows them to circumvent Congress, which the Founding Fathers had made the sole authority for setting immigration policy.

The administration has taken bold steps down this duplicitous path. First, they caved to pressure from their liberal base when the promise to maintain the Secure Communities program that allows police to identify criminal aliens in custody was broken. As it now stands, this change of heart gives a free pass to millions of illegal aliens to remain at large, thus potentially threatening the safety of innocent citizens in local neighborhoods.

Second, at Obama’s direction, John Morton, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, issued two memos to agency officials that explained how to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” — or, in other words, determining which illegal immigrant stays and which goes.

Among the variables are whether the alien under consideration has committed a “serious” crime. Another consideration ICE agents have been urged to evaluate is whether the illegal immigrant is a college student. This is a particularly abusive practice since the DREAM Act has been defeated at least 10 times in the past decade, most recently in December 2010 during the congressional lame duck session.

No limits have been set on the numbers of illegal aliens who could be granted administrative amnesty, or so-called “deferred action.” But once they receive this blessing, they will be legally authorized to work. More workers — especially ones who should be deported — in an economy with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate is another crippling blow to struggling Americans.

The vast influence that deferred action supporters have on Obama is no accident; he’s their biggest enabler. Although Obama pledged during his campaign that he would oversee a “transparent” administration, his actions belie his words.

Two of Obama’s first appointments were Cecilia Muñoz, former vice president of the National Council of La Raza, and Hilda Solis, a former California U.S. representative with an unbroken voting record of supporting amnesty. Muñoz is now the White House Hispanic community liaison and Solis the labor secretary. Obama granted Muñoz an “ethics waiver” since hiring lobbyists violated his own ban on the practice.

According to a study by the nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based Judicial Watch, government (taxpayer) funding to La Raza more than doubled from $4.1 million to $11 million in the two years since Muñoz joined the White House. Solis funneled about $5 million through her Labor Department. Muñoz also directed $18 million to Chicanos por la Causa, an equally radical La Raza affiliate.

For Obama, illegal alien pandering is a risky gamble. Americans are firm in their resolve that the big issues in addition to immigration law enforcement are the weak economy and the jobs crisis. A backdoor amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants who should be deported won’t curry voters’ favor.

— Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns — mostly about immigration and related social issues — since 1990 and is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). After 25 years as an English as a Second Language teacher in the Lodi Unified School District, Guzzardi has retired to Pittsburgh. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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