We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants, five million. And how about all the millions that are waiting on line, going through the process legally? So unfair. ~ Donald Trump, August 31, 2016
Today, we have unveiled a real scandal in the Trump administration. And no, it has nothing to do with James Comey.
While much of the conservative media is consumed with Comey and Russia, they are missing the irony of defending an administration without even securing some key policy outcomes. The latest betrayal to the Right is the confirmation that Trump’s DHS has issued almost 125,000 “DACA” cards (per Obama’s unlawful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order) to illegal aliens through the second quarter of this fiscal year (January through March).
According to newly published data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Trump administration has issued 17,275 initial amnesty cards and over 107,500 renewals of existing status.
This surpasses the 122,000 level of amnesty cards issued during the final quarter of Obama’s presidency (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2016), which means the Trump administration is not even slowing down the pace! And although the first 20 days of this quarter were still under Obama’s tenure, the Trump amnesty is likely close to 200,000 by now, when extrapolating in the number of presumed cards issued during April and May.
Thus, while Trump’s own lawful immigration order lies in ruins from tyrannical courts – with no effort to fight back through Congress – Obama’s patently unconstitutional DACA order remains in full force even after his presidency.
The jarring thing here is that Trump could fulfill a core campaign promise simply by refusing to renew existing DACA cards. We are not talking about a balanced budget or entitlement reform — just a simple display of inaction. Even Marco Rubio said the president should only decline to retroactively strip DACA, but should follow through with the promise not to renew the amnesty.
Granting work permits and Social Security cards to people who are here illegally is something even King George couldn’t do without British Parliament. A mere inaction could rectify this problem, yet Trump’s own DHS, led by Sec. John Kelly, is taking active steps to violate the Constitution. At this point, it has become Trump’s amnesty.
Keep in mind that the betrayal on Obama’s amnesty is in addition to the border wall being downright defunded and refugee resettlement being funded. Conservatives would be wise to raise Cain over this issue and stop making excuses.
At a committee hearing Wednesday, Sec. Kelly wouldn’t stop talking about “Dreamers” as if they are covered by a legitimate statute. He promised Democrats on Wednesday that he would not deport any “Dreamer” without a criminal record. This is lawless and, as I’ve noted before, very problematic for a number of reasons.
1. Welfare for illegals
Trump officials, and perhaps the president himself, don’t seem to understand what DACA is (much like some don’t understand what Obamacare actually is). That is why they are confused about repealing it.
Obama’s executive amnesty was not merely the suspension of deportations of certain classes of illegal aliens; it offered them benefits and affirmative legal status, with Social Security cards, work permits, and thousands of dollars in refundable tax credit welfare payments. In fact, well over 500,000 illegals had received Social Security cards by 2014 (more likely to be 800,000 by now).
According to a Congressional Research Service memo, illegal families could receive as much as $35,000 in retroactive EITC benefits the first year after being approved for Obama’s executive amnesty. This was all done without an act of Congress. Thus, to say we are not going to focus on deporting DACA recipients is a non-sequitur to the main problem of granting them affirmative benefits.
Even if we don’t deport large numbers of them, we should certainly not give them American benefits. Moreover, these funds could be used to build the wall.
2. Discretion vs. amnesty
There is one thing to use discretion to prioritize some enforcement actions over others; that is what every federal and state law enforcement agency does on a daily basis. It is quite another dynamic to actually publicly make a policy of de facto amnesty and legitimize and codify the supposed right of illegal immigrants to remain in the country contrary to our sovereignty laws.
Saying we are only focusing on criminal aliens is essentially Obama’s stated (albeit false) messaging.
3. “Dream” amnesty serves as a magnet
Agreeing to the false notion that children of illegal aliens have a right to demand legal status and that poor decisions of their parents and host countries are the fault of American taxpayers and workers runs contrary to everything Trump said during the campaign.
Furthermore, it encourages future waves of immigration at a time when Central Americans understand that once they come here with children, they are essentially here to stay. Trump promised to get rid of unqualified birthright citizenship for those born here to illegal immigrant parents. How could he then grant amnesty to those born in foreign countries?
And while Trump’s campaign rhetoric is still scaring off illegal aliens, thus resulting in an encouraging slowdown of border crossings, how long will that last once word gets out that he’s a paper tiger?
4. A king or a president?
Irrespective of one’s policy views on immigration, maintaining Obama’s illegal amnesty shreds our sovereignty and Constitution, and sets a terrible precedent. The executive amnesty was perhaps Obama’s most egregious act of imperialism, because it undermined the very foundation of our sovereignty.
In fact, giving rights to aliens is the quintessential example Alexander Hamilton used to contrast a president from a king. “[T]he one [a president] can confer no privileges whatever; the other [a king] can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies,” wrote Hamilton in Federalist No. 69.
There is no greater act of imperialism than for a president to unilaterally nullify our sovereignty and violate immigration statutes.
5. Trump hurting Arizona and states that want the rule of law
As we noted in February, the same courts that are engaging in civil disobedience and nullifying Trump’s common sense lawful immigration guidance are also demanding that Arizona offer driver’s licenses to recipients of Obama’s amnesty. They are treating Obama’s amnesty as a legitimate statute through which to force states to grant benefits to illegals.
During Trump’s hallmark Phoenix speech on immigration, he said the Grand Canyon State had a “very special place” in his heart. With the courts destroying state and national sovereignty, doesn’t he want to do his part to help Arizona — and certainly not burden them legally and politically with amnesty?
“Obama immigration order alive, Trump order dead” is not exactly the slogan we want Democrats chanting in 2018, but that is the end game unless the president acts immediately.
To quote candidate Trump, “we either have a country or we don’t have a country.”
The coming days will be very telling for many fervent Trump supporters whether this was about a cause or about flesh and blood.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.