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Ron Fink: Will Executive Order on Immigration Do What Obama Says It Will?

I am a conservative and I believe that the laws of the United States are what separate us from other less orderly countries. But unlike the United States, most other countries enforce their immigration laws and routinely expel border-crossers. They also lock up illegal aliens who break their laws.

As you all know by now, President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that would allow 4 million-plus illegal aliens to remain for three years in the United States without fear of prosecution. Of course, there were some strings attached.

Working illegal alien families who have been here illegally for more than five years would be allowed to stay as long as they followed the rules, had regular jobs, registered and paid taxes.

Another group singled out in his plan is foreign students studying in the science and technology fields in the United States who will find it easier to obtain a visa to allow them to stay. These folks are occupying space that should be set aside for American students. How else can we grow our industrial base if we fail to educate the next generation of American citizens?

On its face, the Obama action would appear to be reasonable, but there are some nagging questions.

According to Obama, the newly vested illegal aliens wouldn’t be eligible for medical care or any of the other benefits provided to citizens. But wait a minute. Don’t illegal aliens already use hospital emergency rooms for free medical care?

As a side note, when the Family Leave Act was passed during the Clinton administration, it was supposed to allow a family member to take unpaid time off to attend to a sick relative or bond with a new baby. Well, over time it morphed into 90 days of paid time off and included all sorts of new definitions of a “family.” So, don’t be surprised if some pandering politician doesn’t want to extend benefits like food stamps and unemployment payments to these folks at some time in the future.

This action is limited in scope to those who are already here and doesn’t include new arrivals or people who haven’t been here the required five years. The logistics of identifying who fits in this category, being here five years, will be interesting to watch. I am skeptical about how hard any of the activist-operated enrollment centers will try to get any legitimate form of verification.

The president would shift the enforcement focus to those who are involved in criminal activities, like the illegal alien who had been deported several times, re-entered the U.S. then shot and killed two police officers in California recently, and criminal street gangs.

Does it take an executive order to stimulate the government to find and prosecute criminals? What will be done with those they catch? Will they be sent to prison for their crimes or simply released across the border only to return a few days later?

Does this mean that the feds will ignore the other 6 million or so illegal aliens — some estimates say there are 11 million undocumented, illegal aliens in the United States today, with more crossing every day — who are here?

Many presidents and legislative sessions have addressed immigration over the last several decades. None has delivered what it promised. So, it would be no surprise if the current executive fiat fails to deliver as well.

Each time some level of relief is given to “guest workers,” “undocumented aliens” or whatever the current politically correct term is for illegal aliens at the time, there is always the promise of stronger enforcement if you’ll “just give us a chance to show how honest we (politicians) are.” But those promises are never kept.

I think that this was more political grandstanding than an honest effort to address the problem through honest debate. When Democrats held a political monopoly right after the 2008 election, they couldn’t agree on immigration reform — and they didn’t need one Republican vote to do anything about it at the time!

The Democrats lost big last month, and Obama wants to create issues, not solve problems. I am guessing that this is the first of many executive actions — some may be more egregious than this one — that will follow in the next two years.

Obama has no more elections to worry about. Most of the Democrat seats left in both the House of Representatives and Senate are those in safe districts (like our own Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara) and those who weren’t on the ballot this time.

President Obama has failed on many fronts, and he wants to build a legacy. If this is successful it could be a defining moment, but when you look back at other such efforts it is hard to imagine how this effort will be any different than all the others.

Will this EO do what the president says it will? We will have to wait and see. I am skeptical based on past experience.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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