There is a humane, transparent, truthful — and constitutional — way to address illegal immigration. Unfortunately, President Obama’s unilateral plan to exempt millions of residents from federal immigration law is none of those things.
Obama said he had to move now because of a dawdling Congress. He forgot to mention that there were Democratic majorities in Congress in 2009 and 2010, yet he did nothing, in fear of punishment at the polls.
Nor did Obama push amnesty in 2011 or 2012, afraid of hurting his own re-election chances.
Worries over sabotaging Democratic chances in the 2014 midterms explain his inaction from 2012 until now. He certainly wouldn’t have waited until 2015 to act, because Republicans will then control Congress.
Given that he has no more elections and can claim no lasting achievements, Obama now sees amnesty as his last desperate chance at establishing some sort of legacy.
Obama cited empathy for undocumented immigrants. But he expressed no such worry about the hundreds of thousands of applicants who wait for years in line rather than simply illegally cross the border.
Any would-be immigrant would have been far wiser to have broken rather than abided by federal laws. Citizens who knowingly offer false information on federal affidavits or provide false Social Security numbers would not receive the sort of amnesties likely to be given to undocumented immigrants.
Obama has downplayed Americans’ worries about social costs and competition for jobs, but studies show illegal immigration has depressed the wages of entry-level American workers while making social services costly for states and burdensome for U.S. citizens.