• Obama delivered his much-touted immigration speech tonight from the East Room of the White House.
• It’s expected to be biggest piece of immigration reform since he took office and represents boldest use of his executive power to date.
By Pete Papaherakles —
In his speech from the White House, President Barack Hussein Obama announced an executive order that will grant legal status and work permits for as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, as well temporary reprieve from deportation. He also announced that he’ll make it easier for certain high-tech workers to obtain visas.
Obama, as well as the mainstream media, have been saying all along that there are 11.5 million illegals in this country. However, immigration experts believe that the real number is closer to 30 million. Even the 5 million number is deceptive, as that will only be the beginning of an avalanche of illegals getting amnesty.
People are wondering who will be affected. Exactly who will get added to the young illegals program? Will illegal alien spouses of United States citizens be covered? What about illegal alien farm workers? The minutiae of definitions, deadlines and cut-off dates will be very important for illegals and their sympathizers.
One important question will be what happens to the illegal alien parents of American citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the country for at least five years, or the parents of young illegals who now would become American citizens? Do the now legal children end up becoming anchor children?
An interesting development is that there will be a network blackout of Obama’s speech. ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX won’t be airing Obama’s amnesty declaration. Not surprisingly, it was shown on the two Hispanic channels, Univisión and Telemundo, as well as CNN and MSNBC.
Although the illegals, the Latino community and liberal Democrats are waiting with bated breath to hear what Obama has to say, conservatives are none too happy.
Republicans accuse Obama of abuse of power and violating the Constitution.
“If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act,” Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the incoming Senate majority leader said earlier today. “We’re considering a variety of options. But make no mistake. Make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.”
Conservative critics of Obama are accusing him of a vast abuse of power, while immigration advocates and Democratic supporters praised Obama for asserting his authority on behalf of millions of “undocumented immigrants.”
Senator John Cornyn, (R-Tex.), said on Wednesday that Obama was “provoking a constitutional crisis,” and he predicted that his actions would make it harder for Congress to ever agree on a more permanent fix of the immigration problem. “I believe his unilateral action, which is unconstitutional and illegal, will deeply harm our prospects for immigration reform,” Mr. Cornyn said. “It will be deeply harmful to our nation’s tradition of the rule of law and deeply harmful to the future of our democracy.” “The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Senator Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.), said in an interview with USA Today. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy.
Republican governors across the country are drawing up their own plan to thwart Obama’s executive order. On Thursday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said he would probably file a lawsuit to block the White House action from being carried out. Governors Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin have said that they, too, are weighing lawsuits to preclude Obama from giving amnesty to the illegals.
Democrats, of course see it differently. “If we don’t act, the dire situation of undocumented immigrants will only get worse, families will continue to be torn apart, people will continue to live in the shadows,” said California Democrat Barbara Boxer. “I say to the president today, as I have said to him in writing, if you act, you will have my strong support, and you will have the support of so many people across the country.”
Pete Papaherakles is a writer and political cartoonist for AFP and is also AFP’s outreach director. Pete is interested in getting AFP writers and editors on the podium at patriotic events. Call him at 202-544-5977 if you know of an event you think AFP should attend.