Once again Pres. Obama has shown that he considers immigration to be primarily a game of political calculation rather than an issue that deeply affects how many millions of U.S. workers must remain unemployed.
His renewed call for massive numbers of work permits for foreign workers is an incredible slap in the face to the 25 million Americans who want a full-time job but cannot find one.
PRES. OBAMA DOESN'T KNOW THAT AMERICAN COLLEGE GRADS ARE HAVING ONE OF WORST YEARS EVER FOR FINDING A JOB
And while we provide students from around the world visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities, our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States. Instead of training entrepreneurs to create jobs on our shores, we train our competition.
Everywhere I turn this summer I talk to college students, recent college grads and their parents who lament the difficulty -- sometimes the impossibility -- of finding a job in their professions.
I know that the President is aware of the terrible jobs environment. Why in the world would he stand up today and tell the nation that we need to make the job market worse for American kids by giving out even more work permits to foreign students?
JOBLESS AMERICANS ARE A SPECIAL INTEREST WHO MUST BE OPPOSED, ACCORDING TO SPEECH
In sum, the system is broken. And everybody knows it. Unfortunately, reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling -– and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.
Folks, just who are the "special interests" who are blocking "comprehensive immigration reform?"
It looked like nearly every special interest in the nation was in that university auditorium applauding the President's appeal for more work permits for foreign workers. You had Big Business, Big Labor, Big Academe, Big Religion, Big Ethnic Grievance Groups, Big City Mayors, Big City Police Chiefs.
What you didn't have in that auditorium was the PUBLIC INTEREST. Groups representing the public interest -- like NumbersUSA -- look out for people across the spectrum regardless of race, religion, geography, occupation, education or age. The PUBLIC INTEREST groups are especially concerned about our fellow citizens in all those categories who can't find a job in this awful economy.
But apparently the President believes that fighting to protect the job prospects of the citizens of this country is "special-interest wrangling."
And he ridicules the idea that Members of Congress standing up for illegal aliens over their unemployed constituents is "inherently bad politics."
Which leads to the next big whopper in the President's speech . . . .
THE LIE THAT DEMOCRATS ARE UNITED BEHIND AN AMNESTY
Interestingly, Mr. Obama did not turn his speech into the Republican-bashing screed that the open-borders groups had requested. Various political publications had indicated that he had been urged to turn his speech into a major campaign effort to inspire voters to turn on Republicans in the fall congressional elections for having blocked "comprehensive immigration reform."
My guess is that the President realized that the truth in what several of those publications suggested -- that there are more votes to be gained this fall by opposing amnesty than by promoting it.
Nonetheless, Pres. Obama implied several times in his speech that getting the amnesty through depends totally on Republicans. The further implication in that is that he has the Democrats all lined up.
But the President has approximately 60% of both the House and Senate locked up by his own Party. Why did he not try to push through an amnesty last year or this year? The reason is that there are many Democrats in Congress who oppose favoring illegal aliens over jobless Americans. And there are many more Democrats who don't have the stomach for taking that stance before a contentious election.
The fact is that Mr. Obama may have little more than half of his own Party in Congress willing to increase work permits for foreign workers during incredibly high unemployment.
I thank the million NumbersUSA activists for making sure so many Democrats and nearly all Republicans in Congress firmly oppose what the Gathering of Special Interests today so greedily want.
PRESIDENT USES HIS FAILURE AT ENTRY/EXIT SYSTEM AS EXCUSE FOR AMNESTY
In fact, because we don’t do a very good job of tracking who comes in and out of the country as visitors, large numbers avoid immigration laws simply by overstaying their visas.
This was one of several references that the President made to his failure to enforce immigration laws already on the books.
But instead of pledging to do a better job in the future or acknowledging that as President he has it totally in his power to fix the problem he describes, he says the failure is the reason we must give permanent access to U.S. jobs to all illegal aliens in the country.
The program known as U.S. Visit languished under Pres. Bush even though Congress ordered it more than a decade ago. But Pres. Obama's Administration has shown even less interest in making sure that every person entering and leaving the U.S. checks into an electronic system so our central computer will know who has come in, who is still here and who has left on time.
Because Obama has failed to put this in place, he indicated today that everybody who overstayed their visa deserves to stay and hold U.S. jobs instead of unemployed Americans!
PROF. OBAMA DOES NOT UNDERSTAND IMMIGRATION HISTORY
Of course, the tensions around immigration are not new. On the one hand, we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants -- a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s precepts. Indeed, it is this constant flow of immigrants that helped to make America what it is. . .
Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentments towards newcomers, particularly in times of economic upheaval
The President relayed the common false view of American history that immigration was somehow the main engine for U.S. progress, and that despite the constant bigotry of American natives, immigration was always good for the American people.
If the U.S. welcomed everybody in the world who were "willing to embrace America's precepts," we would easily have a billion people here now instead of the 310 million who already are over-burdening many of our natural resources and physical infrastructures.
Obama conveniently left out that in the past, America greatly reduced immigration during times of "economic upheaval." Instead during this time of massive unemployment, he stood there and made a speech for increases in foreign workers.
He further unscored his lack of historical knowledge by using the Statue of Liberty as if it were dedicated to immigration. In fact, "Liberty Enlightening the World" was intended to celebrate the U.S. as a model for the rule of law and individual freedom for other nations to emulate so their own citizens wouldn't need to think about moving somewhere else.
TOUTING WORKER VERIFICATION WHILE REFUSING TO SUPPORT IT IN CONGRESS
And we’re implementing and improving a system to give employers a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally. But we need to do more. We cannot continue just to look the other way as a significant portion of our economy operates outside the law. It breeds abuse and bad practices. It punishes employers who act responsibly and undercuts American workers. And ultimately, if the demand for undocumented workers falls, the incentive for people to come here illegally will decline as well.
In fact, Pres. Obama continually opposes requiring businesses to verify their new hires. The SAVE Act in Congress dies on the vine even though it would easily pass if Senate and House leaders would allow a vote.
But Pres. Obama doesn't want mandatory E-Verify to pass because that would make it harder to pass an amnesty in the future.
This is the same reason that Pres. Obama refuses to secure the border even though it is fully in is power to do so. He needs the constant flow of illegal workers across the border so he can use a promise to eventually stop the flow as a bargaining chip to get an amnesty.
Every piece of enforcement that Mr. Obama promises to do AFTER an amnesty could be done right now.
Despite all the flowery language and his attempts to paint the majority of Americans as immoral because they oppose an amnesty, the President today failed to obscure the fact that our immigration system is broken because the person living in the White House -- as the three occupants before him -- refuses to do his job of enforcing the nation's immigration laws.
(12:45 p.m. Thursday) -- Some first thoughts on Pres. Obama's much touted speech on the need for "comprehensive immigration reform" this morning.
Rosemary Jenks, our NumbersUSA Director of Government Relations has these comments:
1) It is incredibly hypocritical for the President to talk about holding employers accountable when his DHS has basically stopped criminal prosecutions of employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens and has completely stopped worksite raids, and when his Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to overturn Arizona's E-Verify law, and all despite the fact that 25 million US workers can't find full time jobs.
2) His contention that our borders are more secure than they've been in decades is ludicrous, but then, he wouldn't know that, since he hasn't been down there; his claim would come as a big surprise to the law enforcement officers and ranchers who have been shot or shot at in recent months by illegal aliens, and to the human and drug smugglers who are operating with impunity.
3) His contention that our immigration laws are unenforceable is interesting--how would he know, since he hasn't tried? When he took his oath of office and swore to faithfully execute the laws of the land, he didn't say, "except those I don't like, like immigration laws."
4) The only thing he was actually specific about was his support for amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens who, as he admitted, came here to take jobs from US workers who desperately need them during the current jobs depression.
5) His politicization of this issue is offensive. He talked about all the different groups he's met with, representing all kinds of views and faiths and beliefs. Unfortunately, the only groups he hasn't met with are those who represent the American people, who oppose his amnesty plan and his apparent plan to ratchet up already too high legal immigration levels. He also said that Republicans are the ones blocking CIR. Last I checked, Democrats control both the House and the Senate. The fact is that there are sufficient numbers of Democrats who actually represent their constituents and oppose amnesty, but instead of admitting that CIR simply doesn't have enough support to pass, he blames Republicans.
ROY BECK is the CEO and Founder of NumbersUSA