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  by  Roy Beck

Has Pres. Obama's new policy of ceasing deportation for most non-violent illegal aliens so discouraged some ANTI-amnesty activists that they will give up on passing a national E-Verify law this fall?

Some people are raising legitimate concerns and questions about this. The most common thought seems to be that if Pres. Obama doesn't obey immigration law on deportations why would he obey a new E-Verify law. Thus, why pass the law. I will attempt to fully respond to these concerns in this blog.

Bottom line, though, is this: We at NumbersUSA aren't about to fulfill Mr. Obama's wildest pro-illegal-worker wishes by stopping our all-out push for a mandatory E-Verify law this fall -- something that is within our grasp.

Here are assertions that are worrying some of our ANTI-amnesty activist friends:

Because Pres. Obama won't deport people already ordered deported . . .

1. . . . It shows that it doesn't matter what Congress passes as a law, since Pres. Obama won't obey the law any way.

2. . . . And passing a national mandatory E-Verify law to keep illegal aliens from holding U.S. jobs won't do any good because Pres. Obama will have given all the illegal aliens work permits that will get them through the E-Verify screening process.

3. . . . Thus, these particular anti-amnesty advocates are saying, they have no interest in any longer pushing for the mandatory E-Verify law that our anti-illegal-immigration movement has had as a top priority for two decades (even though we have the best chance since 1996 to pass the legislation this fall).

Here is what is wrong about those assertions -- and about giving up on mandatory E-Verify this fall:

First, I want to emphasize that I understand how many of you might at first wonder about these things, consider them to be logical and ask me why they shouldn't be considered true. I thank you for raising them. If my responses below seem too strong, it is not out of any frustration with you but because the stakes are so high in seeing why the line of assertions above are not valid.

Let's consider each assertion.

Assertion No. 1: Because Pres. Obama won't deport people already ordered deported . . .

TRUE.

It was announced last week by the President's West Wing official who formerly was a long-time lobbyist for the National Council of La Raza. Even though some 300,000 people have been caught, detained, tried and ordered to be deported, the announcement said, the Administration will give "Deferred Action" to most of them if they haven't been convicted of a violent felony. Deferred Action allows an illegal alien to remain legally present in the U.S. temporarily, and can be renewed.

Assertion No. 2: . . . . it shows that it doesn't matter what Congress passes as a law, since Pres. Obama won't obey the law any way.

NOT REALLY.

It is key to understand that the Constitution gives the power to set immigration policy to Congress. The only power a President has in immigration policy is a power given to him by Congress.

  • In this case, Congress for some time has given a President the right to give out Deferred Action status to illegal aliens on a case-by-case basis. Thus, in basing his new policy on Deferred Action, Pres. Obama is operating in an area where Congress has indeed given him wide discretion.

Has he gone well beyond the discretion granted him?  It certainly sounds like it.  Our congressional sources say they have seen data showing that the Administration has been giving out work permits in droves to illegal aliens who have court orders to be deported.

By the way, there are three general types of amnesty. (1) A "citizenship amnesty" that allows an illegal alien all the rights of a citizen, including jobs and residence and voting; (2) a "jobs amnesty" that allows an illegal alien to work while staying in the country, (3) and a "presence amnesty" that allows a person to stay in the country without the right to work, vote, receive government benefits, etc.

It will be one thing to claim prosecutorial discretion to decide to deport one set of illegal aliens instead of another set while claiming limited funds that prevent deporting all. That would be a temporary presence amnesty.

But much worse is the granting of mass work permits which is far beyond a matter of prosecutorial discretion. That would be a matter of giving illegal aliens the main thing they broke immigration laws to obtain -- U.S. jobs -- and would directly victimize unemployed Americans.

After Congress the last half-decade has repeatedly voted against amnesties (and against giving work permits to illegal aliens), the granting of a "jobs amnesty" would be a direct violation by the President of the wishes of Congress.

My main point here is that Pres. Obama is trying to operate in a part of immigration law in which Congress has given Presidents some discretion. 

  • A mandatory E-Verify law, however, would be quite different. It would NOT give the President any discretion in setting up a computer system to track any employer that fails to use E-Verify in screening new workers.

Such a law would NOT give the President any discretion in the computer system sending out "No-Match Letters" to employers about existing workers who have mismatched or fictitious Social Security numbers, and ordering the firing of the workers who can't resolve the issue.

I have no doubt that if Congress passes a mandatory E-Verify law that Pres. Obama will see that these systems are set up and put in operation.

Would he aggressively fine and jail employers who don't comply? That is where discretion will enter. We know that Pres. Obama rarely suppports enforcing the law against illegal aliens. But he has shown quite a lot of interest and activity in enforcing the law against U.S. citizens who break immigration laws as business owners. So, I am hopeful that Pres. Obama would at least be moderately strong in taking business E-Verify violators to court.

The most important thing here is that once Congress makes it just as illegal to NOT use E-Verify as it is illegal to NOT withhold Social Security taxes on a worker, nearly all employers will comply with the law. Most of the compliance with an E-Verify law will happen voluntarily (just as compliance with Social Security withholding).

Unlike in the area of deportations that depend almost entirely on daily positive actions by the Administration, a mandatory E-Verify law doesn't depend on that kind of direct federal enforcement.

  • And "Victor of Alabama" commented when I first posted this blog: "

    You forgot to mention that President Obama is up for reelection next year. A new President can get rid of this executive order and enforce E-Verify if Congress passes it this year."

Even if Pres. Obama completely ignored a new E-Verify law (something I don't believe for a minute would happen), it still would be worth passing this year so that the next President would be able to start enforcing the first day in office.

To summarize on Argument No. 2:

  • It DOES matter what laws Congress passes. If it passes laws giving discretion to Pres. Obama, he has proven that he will bend that law as far as possible to favor illegal foreign workers over unemployed Americans.
  • But if Congress passes laws with direct orders and without discretion, we do not have an indication that Pres. Obama would set himself up for an impeachment trial by simply disregarding such an immigration law. (I repeat that I do not believe that Pres. Obama would directly violate such a congressional mandate. But even if you think he would, why not pass a mandatory E-Verify law and just dare him to ignore it and prove he deserves impeachment.)

Assertion No. 3: . . . . And passing a national mandatory E-Verify law to keep illegal aliens from holding U.S. jobs won't do any good because Pres. Obama will have given all the illegal aliens work permits that will get them through the E-Verify screening process.

NOT TRUE -- most illegal aliens would still NOT have work permits even under the worst application of the new Obama policy.

At the moment, the new Administration policy on Deferred Action and potential work permits is not about ALL millions of illegal aliens but about the 300,000 who have been ordered deported.

Thus, a mandatory E-Verify law would still get at most of the illegal aliens now holding jobs or seeking jobs. Because they would NOT have been given Deferred Action and work permits.

Furthermore, I believe that NumbersUSA and like-minded citizens are going to stir up so much opposition and outrage to Mr. Obama's new policy -- and sufficient leaders in Congress will join the protest -- that Pres. Obama will back down and limit his "presence" amnesty somewhat and limit any "jobs amnesty" to no more than a few thousand illegal aliens (rather than HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of illegal aliens). That mobilized outrage is underway right now as we are delivering more than 10,000 protest faxes a day into the White House from American voters.

A few people have questioned why NumbersUSA hasn't been as aggressive in our public statements about Pres. Obama's new policy as have some other groups.

But regardless of how each of us may TALK, no group has actually DONE more to fight this policy than NumbersUSA which began processing tens of thousands of protest faxes to Congress and the President within a few hours of the White House announcement of the new policy last week. In fact, NumbersUSA months ago was the first group to alert the nation to the internal Administration memos that indicated this policy was coming. Since then, we have processed hundreds of thousands of faxes and driven thousands of phone calls in protest.

Yes, NumbersUSA will always be very careful about facts, about nuance and about practical strategies that achieve real, tangible improvements for the American people. That means our rhetoric may sometimes be tamer than some activists prefer. But you can count on us to not overstate or mislead just to win a point.

One of the practical principles that we always adhere to here is that we don't insist on 100% results for every action. Even if a mandatory E-Verify law would only be 80% as effective or even 50% as effective because of Obama Administration subversion, we believe that such a law should be passed because it still would result in millions of Americans having a job who otherwise would not.

Assertion No. 4: . . . . Thus, these particular anti-amnesty advocates are saying, they have no interest in any longer pushing for the mandatory E-Verify law that our anti-illegal-immigration movement has had as a top priority for two decades (even though we have the best chance since 1996 to pass the legislation this fall).

EXACTLY HOW THE PRO-AMNESTY CROWD HOPED WE WOULD RESPOND.

For those of you who are considering this course of action, I want you to imagine this scenario:

  • For most of the year, PRO-amnesty leaders have lamented that chances of amnesty had dwindled to nothing and that the only immigration action likely out of Congress this year would be an E-Verify law that would drive millions of illegal aliens out of payroll jobs.
  • Those PRO-amnesty leaders by July were in despair that nothing was going to stop House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith from driving his E-Verify bill through the House.
  • Imagine those PRO-amnesty leaders trying to think of a way to detour and re-channel all of the anti-illegal-worker energies that were driving the E-Verify push. Imagine them trying to find a way to put us on the defensive so we would abandon the thing the PRO-amnesty people fear the most -- mandatory national E-Verify.

Well, it looks like Pres. Obama's new Deferred Action plan threatens to pull off a political miracle for the PRO-amnesty side.

If our citizen army and our allies in Congress focus this fall primarily on knocking down the new Obama policy and lose this golden opportunity to pass a national mandatory E-Verify law, then we all will have cooperated as co-conspirators with the PRO-amnesty crowd for them to achieve a pro-illegal-immigration victory beyond their wildest dreams.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA

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