Here's the latest update on the Amnesty Bill and how the left is attempting to circumvent existing laws.
Diligence helps resist stealth amnesty
Monday March 02, 2009, 4:59 AM
As the Obama administration continues to navigate the shoals of the nation’s financial crisis, other dangerous waters are approaching — growing pressure from open borders groups to legalize 11 million illegal immigrants.
So far, Team Obama is sailing around this one, instead of through it. President Barack Obama recently told a popular Mexican-American radio personality in Los Angeles that “comprehensive immigration reform” is going to be politically tough. He said, “It’s probably tougher now than it was, partly because of the fact that the economy has gotten worse.”
But we’re less than 100 days into a new administration, and the restless left seems ill-inclined to wait.
One congressman made a public show of calling on Obama to place a moratorium on worksite enforcement actions. And illegal-immigrant advocacy groups are calling on the president to place a moratorium on immigration enforcement.
In the 110th Congress, there was a focused effort by amnesty opponents to defeat a single massive amnesty bill. The American people made their views clear during the ensuing debate: They oppose amnesty. But illegal immigrant advocates still want it, and in the 111th Congress, the left’s impatience will bring new challenges for amnesty opponents.
The illegal-immigrant lobby knows that a comprehensive bill isn’t necessary to accomplish the goal of allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. A thousand “small cuts” would go a long way.
For the open borders crowd, the first step is to ensure that illegal immigrants get jobs. That means allowing E-Verify, the federal government’s system that helps 100,000 businesses ensure the people they hire are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, to expire. Or it could mean reauthorizing E-Verify only for short terms of a few months, making it difficult for businesses to make long-term management decisions. Illegal-immigrant advocates prefer to let illegal immigrants keep working, even at the expense of American workers.
The open borders crowd will rely on its most liberal friends in Congress to undertake some of the same efforts they began last year after comprehensive immigration reform failed. No one should be surprised to see the left trying to move piecemeal legislation along the lines of AgJOBS and the DREAM Act. Last year, those bills were designed to grant stealth amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in specific categories: farm workers and those who claim to have come to the U.S. illegally as minors.
Similarly, the patriotically described HR 6020, a bill to “protect the well-being of soldiers and their families,” was in fact an effort to protect illegal immigrants and criminal aliens. It could have granted amnesty and relief from the consequences of committing serious crimes to almost anyone who has ever served in the United States military and their family members.
In addition to these stealth legislative efforts, there are many ways to weaken immigration enforcement that require no new laws and can be done by the Obama administration with the stroke of a pen, simply through an executive order. Regulatory changes and funding cuts in enforcement can both be part of the open borders effort to bring about amnesty, too.
This “small cuts” approach has already started.
Without notice, the Obama administration delayed the scheduled implementation of a requirement that federal contractors use E-Verify. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that individuals working for or contracting with the federal government employ legal U.S. workers, not illegal foreign workers.
Obama claimed to support E-Verify when he served in the Senate, but the White House allowed E-Verify to be removed from the final stimulus package. Obama signed a bill that his administration claims will generate jobs, but Democrats removed the requirement that employers use E-Verify to confirm the legal status of workers paid with stimulus money. Without the E-Verify protections, 300,000 construction jobs alone will go to illegal immigrants, according to the Heritage Foundation. It is but one aspect of a massive bill, but the American people need to know that the Democrats could have saved stimulus jobs for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants but decided to give jobs to illegal immigrants instead.
Amnesty opponents must remain vigilant and diligent if we are to identify each of these small, stealth efforts to achieve piecemeal amnesty. Our task in the coming year will be to ensure that “small cuts” at amnesty do not become law. If they do, they will force American workers to compete with foreign workers for scarce jobs and undermine the rule of law.
Rep. Lamar Smith represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas. He is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.