In a 2,200-word speech, he didn't mention "work permits" or "work authorization" even once.
Pres. Obama's huge prime-time TV speech about his big fix of the "broken immigration system" somehow left out the fact that he would be rewarding millions of unlawfully present foreign citizens with three-year work permits to compete directly with struggling American workers.
He hid the most consequential part of his big immigration "deal" from the American people.
The President made it seem like the big change was that he was going to stop deporting illegal aliens who don't have a big felony record. But officials already have acknowledged that the average illegal alien has almost no chance of being deported, anyway.
He told us that if the illegal aliens stay here they have to pay taxes. But he forgot to say they would get work permits and be able to compete for any job in construction, manufacturing, service, programming or any other occupation. Or that they would get Social Security numbers to enable them to obtain all kinds of other documents that could embed them in America for life.
He indicated that Americans who oppose his immigration "deal" for around 5 million illegal aliens might be guilty of religious and racial prejudice, and probably of violating the admonitions of scripture. But he didn't tell the truth about his "deal." He didn't tell Americans about the work permits.
I suppose we should all congratulate ourselves that we have raised the job and wage competition issue to such a high level that the President and his advisors recognized that he did not dare tell Americans about the . . . shhhhhh . . . work permits.
So, forgive me for a little satisfaction that when the Associated Press sent out a group of reactions to the speech tonight, they included one from me that focused on the two most important words that were NOT in the speech -- WORK PERMITS!
President Obama's unconstitutional plan to reward millions of law-breaking foreign citizens with work permits is especially outrageous at a time of labor surplus and sustained wage depression for American workers and legal immigrants already here."-- Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, an immigration control group.
-- Associated Press, "Reaction to the President's Immigration Plan," Nov. 20, 2014
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Let's take a look at the way the President tried to sell his executive immigration policies tonight. And I warn you that I'm not feeling generous.
Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.
The whole speech was like this. He would throw in some words and phrases that his pollsters told him tested well in focus groups. But then he didn't connect them to anything that really made any sense.
Yeah, we ARE offended by those who flout the rules. Wouldn't that mean we don't want to see the illegal migrants and the businesses that hire them be rewarded? The President then seemed to suggest that the illegal migrants who flout the rules should take responsibility for something. However, the responsibility is not for breaking the law but for some kind of "responsibilities of living in America." What is that supposed to mean? Later in the speech, he seems to suggest that the only problem with illegal immigration is that some of those illegal migrants haven't been paying taxes. Maybe that's the responsibility that makes you worthy of living in America regardless of how many laws you broke to do it.
Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.
The pro-amnesty groups have made this claim about the Senate's Gang of Eight amnesty the last two years. And, of course, we were always concerned about the danger of what might happen if there had been a vote. Hence, our constant and successful efforts to persuade Speaker Boehner to never bring the amnesty to the floor for a vote. But no news organization was ever able to find nearly enough House Republicans ready to vote for the Senate amnesty bill to reach 218 with the help of all Democrats.
Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable
Throw in another focus group-tested phrase. I kept waiting for exactly how his "deal" would hold the illegal migrants "accountable." But he never really got back to it. The best I could figure out is that the President's tough love approach means that illegal migrants would have to start paying taxes and not be a bad criminal. Wait a minute, isn't that what is expected of all of us who did NOT "flout the law?"
Note to the rest of the world: Overstaying your tourist visa is OK as long as you pay taxes and aren't a bad criminal.
And let's be honest -- tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn't realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't being straight with you. It's also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches.
Everybody in the world, are you paying attention? Our immigration laws don't really apply to you if you overstay your visitor visa, as long as you work hard, feed your family and go to church.
And, of course, we all know that the only alternative to Obama's plan is to have mass roundups and mass deportations. Thanks, Mr. President, for showing you are as good at false dichotomies as the pollsters for most of the mainstream media.
HERE'S THE DEAL
Deep into the speech, we finally got what the President described as his "deal," although it began as a "thing:"
Now here's the thing: we expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we're going to offer the following deal: If you've been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes -- you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.
So, the President makes our ears feel warmed with the sound of justice when he says those who cut in line will not be unfairly rewarded. But then doesn't he immediately spell out a pretty amazing reward? Still, the focus groups apparently said to put that phrase into a sentence and American voters will be too stupid to notice that the deal you are describing is really just your giving a reward. If you've broken immigration laws or identity theft laws or employment laws for at least five years, you qualify for the deal. Oh, and you have to promise to pay taxes in the future. I guess that is quite a compromise if somebody was proposing that breaking immigration laws should qualify you to live in the United States and never have to pay taxes.
That's what this deal is. Now let's be clear about what it isn't. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive -- only Congress can do that. All we're saying is we're not going to deport you.
Uh, oh. This is awkward. ALL that you're saying?
"All we're saying is we're not going to deport you."
Wasn't this the place to say something more like, "All we're saying is we're not going to deport you, AND you get work permits to compete for nearly any U.S. job and you get Social Security numbers, and maybe a few other things, too."
Cue the music: "All we are saying, is give truth a chance."
Oh, but it got so much worse. For those of us who were sentient adults in the early 1970s, we know that when a President says, "I am not a criminal . . . or a king . . . or an emperor," you just know that somehow the English language is probably being twisted.
I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it's not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today -- millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.
Hmmmm, so the 5 million people who the President spent most of his speech lauding are people who have NOT been playing by the rules and -- apparently the worst offense of all -- not paying taxes. To not make them legal (and not give them work permits, although that was supposed to be a secret) would be to give them amnesty, don't you see? But the President is going to make them pay for their rule-breaking by . . . well, by paying taxes. But only future taxes and not any back taxes.
Again, we should all pat ourselves on the back. Through the years, we have been so successful in helping the American people see the gross injustice of amnesty that the chief supporters of it have had to re-define it.
Speaking of re-definitions:
What I'm describing is accountability -- a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.
I think he may be into re-defining "middle ground" as well as "accountability."
Since the President didn't happen to mention the millions of new work permits, it was easier for him to dismiss the economic concerns of ordinary Americans:
I know that some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they've gotten the raw end of the deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that's not what these steps would do.
I heard almost no signal that our President believes that nations have immigration laws to protect the interests of its citizens. Nor did I hear that anybody other than a bad criminal doesn't deserve to live here, regardless of whether they are invited.
Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?
Note to the rest of the world: Pay a drug cartel to smuggle you here. Or violate the promises you made in getting your visitor visa. All will be forgiven if you work in agriculture or the hospitality industry.
And finally we got the big emotional finish to the speech that summed up the Presidential speech writers' idea of what it means to be an American:
Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger -- we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -- that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That's the tradition we must uphold. That's the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.
According to the Rev. Obama, doing anything other than allowing illegal migrants to remain in a country (and giving them work permits, if you are in on the secret) would be oppressing them, I guess.
And, I'm trying to follow the logic of the focus group leaders and the speech writers: Because nearly all of us Americans have ancestors who were immigrants, we do not have the right to regulate the number of people who can immigrate in the future or to enforce the rules for those who disobey the rules. That would betray our heritage.
Apparently, Americans are the only people in the world who believe in equality and the chance to "make of our lives what we will." So, anybody in the world who believes in equality and wants to "do it myyyyyyyyy way" is by definition an American and ought to have the right to live here? After all, "THAT'S THE TRADITION WE MUST UPHOLD. THAT'S THE LEGACY WE MUST LEAVE FOR THOSE WHO ARE YET TO COME."
I sort of apologize for being so sarcastic. But I am so offended that the President and his team think we Americans are so stupid that they don't have to include any logic in this speech. I don't really believe that this President thinks we should have open borders. But I can't find anything in his speech that tells me what our immigration system is supposed to do or how it would work.
AND WHY DID THE PRESIDENT AND HIS TEAM THINK HE SHOULD GO TO SUCH GREAT LENGTHS TO CONCEAL THOSE TWO WORDS . . .
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 12:00am EST