On the third day of his first administration, Obama met with congressional leaders to discuss the proposed stimulus plan. When Eric Cantor raised objections to some of the items the President said, "I won. So I think on that one, I trump you."It's time for John Boehner to say the same thing. At least when it comes to illegal immigration.
The House of Representatives was designed by our constitutional founders as "the people's house," with elections every two years in order for this branch of government to be most beholden to the will of the government.
James Madison wrote in The Federalist #52:
As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people. Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured.While the president and the media complain that under John Boehner, the House hasn't voted on the Senate bill or any other immigration bill, they forget that this branch of government isn't beholden to the media or the executive branch but to the people.
The Democrats campaigned very heavily that those damned Republicans "hate women," "hate minorities," "hate puppies," and "hate immigrants." No non of those charges were true but despite the Democratic party meme, the GOP picked up at least 12 seats (six more are too close to call) and now control 245 seats in congress which is close to the largest GOP majority in the house in almost a century.
So the question becomes did they vote for GOP candidates on that basis? Possibly---but if they didn't vote for them with that in mind it meant that immigration was not a priority to the electorate when they cast their votes last Tuesday.
Indeed according to exit polls the most important issues to voters were:
The election results do not mean that immigration should be ignored, it simply means the "Democratic Party/Senate Bill/President Obama" version of immigration reform is not what the people want and should not be passed in the People's house.
This does not mean that immigration reform should be ignored. The issue is a festering wound that needs to be addressed. But neither the Senate Bill nor Obama's plan for legalization via executive fiat is what the people want.
In a May 2014 survey 58% of voters said sealing the borders should be the first step of any immigration bill, vs. 34% who said dealing with the illegal immigrants presently in the country should be first.
This country has never followed through with any attempt to secure the border.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 that was signed into law by Ronald Reagan promised border security, but Congress never funded the increased security.
The Secure Fence Act of 2006 promised building 700 miles of double security fencing along the Mexico-United States border. The law also authorizes more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting as well as authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology like cameras, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce infrastructure at the border.
Of the almost 700 miles of mandated fencing, DHS reports there are currently 36.3 miles of double-layered fencing, as the bill required, the kind with enough gap that you can drive a vehicle between the layers. The President claims the fencing has been built, but the majority of the fence erected consists of vehicle barriers with single-layer pedestrian fencing, the kind of barriers that are designed to stop vehicles rather than people (see below).
The bill passed in the Senate supposedly doubles the number of border agents and completes the border fence promised in the 2006 legislation. But there is no guarantee those actions will be taken because the amnesty elements of the bill will be enacted whether those actions are taken or not. The bill also contains a provision giving the head of Homeland Security discretion to nix the border protection elements of the bill. Other provisions allow the Homeland Security Secretary to validate that certain triggers were met---this or only other administration in power when the bill is enacted gets to verify whether or not they did their job. That is as promising a thought as the Department of Justice investigating the DOJ, and the State Department investigating the State Department---both of which have happened in this administration.
It's not just Obama, bills with provisions to secure the border passed under Reagan and Bush #43 were not executed as passed, why should America trust a promise today?
Understandably many Latinos see rejection of comprehensive immigration reform as a slur "gee the anti-Immigration crowd doesn't want more people like me in the country." The issue isn't about more Latinos coming into this county, the real issue is the people coming across the border that may have nefarious objectives just like the four people with terrorist ties arrested the day before 9/11 recently described by Rep. Chaffetz. This is about protecting the children of all Americans including those with Latino parents.
I have reason to believe that on September 10th there were actually four individuals trying to cross through the Texas border who were apprehended at two different stations that do have ties to known terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Are you not aware of that? -Rep Jason Chaffetz To DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. 9/17/2014History has taught us that legislation promising border security never get implemented, that is why before anything else having to do with immigration must wait until the border is proven to be secure. And we are talking about all borders, northern, southern, people who walk in, fly in etc.
The Senate bill could have done that....but it didn't. And the sick part about the border security debate is if the Democrats allowed true border security to happen, it will be impossible for comprehensive reform to be blocked---even if it includes some sort of amnesty.
Once the border is secured we can discuss the rest. And yes its is going to have to include some sort of amnesty for the illegal immigrants in the country right now. Perhaps not citizenship but some sort of permanent residency.
Start with real background checks, fine them for breaking the law, ensure them permanent residence status while denying them full citizenship---any combination of the above, but the United States is not going to track down twelve million people and throw them out of the country...it's just not right. But nothing can or should happen before we can guarantee that close to everyone coming into the country comes here legally and that the federal government knows who is coming into the United States.