The Obama Amnesty
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that bars the deportation of illegal aliens under the age of 30 who were brought to the US before they were 16 years old, have lived here for at least five continuous years, have no criminal record and either are now attending high school, graduated from high school, earned a GED or served in the military. I call this order the "Obama Amnesty" (OA). Of about 11 million illegal aliens now in the country, between 800,000 and 1.4 million could qualify for the OA, but they must first apply to the Department of Homeland Security and prove their qualifications.
Columnist Cal Thomas has responded to this order by writing that President Obama "violated his oath of office in which he swore to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.' " (1) Is Thomas right?
Actually there is nothing in Article II of the Constitution (which defines the powers and duties of the President) that requires the President to deport illegal aliens. Although Section 3 requires that "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed", Section 2 empowers him to "grant ...pardons for offenses against the United States." Thus he can waive penalties for illegally crossing our borders, even ffor large groups. Moreover, the power to issue visas has always resided in the Executive Branch, so the President can certainly grant aliens permission to live in the United States.
But even if Obama was within his legal rights as President to establish OA, was it good for America? Cal Thomas also wrote "Now 800,000 non-citizens can work legally, in some cases for lower wages, thus robbing some citizens of what should be their priority in the job line." The OA will certainly increase the number of legally-qualified applicants for jobs, which will give employers a wider choice of applicants. Thanks to OA, they will be moving from the shadowy world of day labor for tax-free cash to the "official economy" of paychecks with deductions for taxes. Given the low American birthrate in recent decades and the large numbers of people soon to retire, the American economy will benefit by an increase in young, educated workers. They will not only be taxpayers, but also consumers, buying cars, homes and local services. Some will start their own businesses and employ others. Therefore, OA will ultimately lead to an increase in jobs as well as job-seekers.
Under President Obama, the US deports about 400,000 illegal aliens per year, mostly at the Mexican border. Since it is not practical to expel large numbers of illegals have been here for years and now live in every state, the President is focusing enforcement efforts on border security and deporting criminals, especially drug-smugglers. Most of the people who qualify for the Obama Amnesty would not have been deported anyway, but now they can get legitimate American identification cards and participate in the above-board economy openly, without fear of deportation.
But if the next president agrees with Cal Thomas, he can cancel OA and try to round them up and send them back to homelands that most never even knew.
Gerald S Glazer
(1) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 20, 2012, page 15A,