This week Rep. Marsha Blackburn called attention to the most controversial and least discussed aspect of President Obama's executive actions on immigration:
President Obama is handing out millions of work permits to illegal aliens at a time when many Americans are struggling to find a job. It is difficult to grasp why President Obama seems more interested in lending a helping hand to illegal aliens than American workers. Sadly, the issuance of work permits is often an overlooked part of the President’s amnesty....
Much as they did with the historic increases in future immigration called for in the Senate immigration bill (S. 744), the White House and mainstream media have done a remarkable job overlooking the work permits part of President Obama's executive actions. "All we're saying is we're not going to deport you" isn't true, but that's the message immigration reporters pump out on a daily basis.
If the administration had been more accustomed to answering questions about the work permits aspects of its unilateral actions, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch may have been better prepped for this exchange with Senator Jeff Sessions:
Sessions asked Lynch who had a greater right to U.S. jobs: lawful immigrants/green card holders, citizens, or persons who are in the country unlawfully? Lynch responded without hesitation:
Senator, I believe the right and the obligation to work is one that is shared by everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone is here -- regardless of status -- I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.
The answer was given with the confidence of someone who had either given the question a great deal of thought or none at all. But clearly, it wasn't an answer that Lynch's supporters were happy to hear. Sen. Schumer had to use part of his time later in the day to give Lynch an opportunity to walk back her statement. That was followed by a second clarification from the Justice Department.
Politico's initial story on the hearing claimed Lynch "said little [about executive actions] beyond calling the administration's legal rationale for the actions 'reasonable." There was no mention of Lynch's provocative statement. But a separate Politico piece later in the day devoted over 600 words to Lynch's clarification. After that was published, the original story was updated to include a paragraph on Lynch's walk back. The updated story also replaced the "said little" line with "turned in a polished performance free of any serious stumbles."
Likewise, Bloomberg's live blog made no mention of the exchange until after Lynch accepted Schumer's invitation to walk back her comments. Bloomberg's update noted that Lynch's earlier response to Sessions was "pounced upon by right wing blogs."
Comment of the week
Edward P. Lazear made no mention of immigration policy in his Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, "Solving the Puzzle of Stagnant Wages" but at least one of his readers did. Michael Sullivan commented:
"Glad he didn't mention the exporting of millions of manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico while simultaneously allowing massive legal and illegal immigration in order to drive down median income for the average American worker. There just can't be any correlation between fewer jobs and a massive increase in job seekers leading to declining wages."
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Program for NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Feb 13th 2015 @ 11:05am EST