How Republicans Can Dilute Obama’s Amnesty

While I try to avoid purely political topics in my weekly blog, President Obama’s latest tirade of new government policies that I discussed on Tuesday is clearly over the top. His latest Executive Order to grant defacto-amnesty to some five million illegals is, many agree, a violation of the Constitution. As a result, it deserves our closer attention.

While some polls show that over 40% of Americans favor some kind of pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, even more disagree with the way President Obama arrogantly went about it. I agree, and I assume most of my clients and readers do as well.

The question is: Is there any way to stop Obama? At least so far, the only way for the House Republicans to stop him is to cut off funding, which would likely result in another government shutdown. And we know how that turned out for the Republicans the last time they did it.

While even the liberal “Saturday Night Live” (very funny) is skewering President Obama for his Executive Order granting defacto-amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, Obama is the one having the last laugh – at least for now. His move has put the GOP into a political corner, and Obama knows Republicans have no good options for pushing back on his lawlessness.

Obama relishes the prospect of a new government shutdown – so much so that he taunted Republicans with the prospect of doing it during his prime-time immigration address in November. So far, Republicans appear not to be taking the bait.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), the force behind the last shutdown, proposes avoiding a shutdown this time around by authorizing funding for government agencies one at a time – and then attaching a rider to the Department of Homeland Security funding bill that prohibits the use of tax dollars to carry out Obama’s Executive Order. Cruz recently stated:

“If the president is unwilling to [accept] funding for, say, the Department of
Homeland Security without his being able to unilaterally defy the law,
he alone
will be responsible for the consequences

Obama might be responsible, but Republicans will still get the blame. It would be disastrous for the GOP to be seen as hampering the work of the Department of Homeland Security just as we face a growing threat from Islamic State terrorists.

There is another way for the GOP (and some Democrats) to turn the tables on Obama. They could attach a rider to a piece of legislation that limits the president’s Executive Order (amnesty) only to those hard-working immigrants who have committed no crime other than coming to the United States illegally to seek a better life.

In his address to the nation, Obama said he would focus on deporting “criminals, not children.” But he is writing the rules so loosely that many illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes will be allowed to stay in the country. Even the left-leaning Washington Post is concerned (all emphasis added is mine):

The administration’s new guidelines prioritize the deportation of illegal aliens with felony convictions. But his regulations leave those convicted “of a ‘significant misdemeanor’ which for these purposes is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or driving under the influence” in a lower category of those to be deported, along with those convicted of other crimes “for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or more (the sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and does not include a suspended sentence).”

This is absurd. Prosecutors reach deals every day that allow people facing felony charges to plead down to misdemeanors in exchange for a guilty plea. The same goes for time served in custody. Those plea deals should not come with executive amnesty as well.

Furthermore, Congress should insist that illegal immigrants allowed to stay under Obama’s executive action be barred from receiving certain taxpayer-funded benefits, such as welfare, food stamps, tax credits, Social Security and Medicare. Obama claimed in his immigration address that he wanted to help “immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government.” If that is the case, then he should have no problem with legislation ensuring that is the case.

These two steps would have strong public backing. While a majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for those here illegally, 77 percent oppose making them “eligible for government benefits such as Social Security, food stamps and Medicaid before they become citizens.” And even those who believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay support the deportation of criminals such as child predators. Obama would have a very hard time explaining why he opposed the deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of, let’s say, a violent misdemeanor against a child or a misdemeanor involving child pornography.

Some will object that such a course rewards Obama’s lawless action. But it also has the benefit of affirming that those benefiting from Obama’s amnesty do not have the privileges of legal permanent residents or citizens. And it puts Obama on the defensive, while putting Republicans squarely on the side of the American people.

A government shutdown should be off the table for the GOP. That means Republicans have two choices: Do nothing, save some meaningless symbolic action. Or take smart, targeted, popular steps that force Obama to scale back his executive order in ways he never intended. That would be less than a complete victory, but it would be a victory nonetheless.”

There you have it folks. When even the lefties at the Washington Post are complaining about Obama’s defacto-amnesty, especially given that it will include many hardened criminals, you know it’s really bad!

Here’s the Washington Post article.

So what do you think? Has the President overstepped his authority in this Executive Order? What do you think of the Post’s suggestion to the Republicans?

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