President Obama's Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement
REPORT | FEBRUARY 2016
The Obama administration’s strategy is to count on the fact that the public and the media will not take notice of each individual and incremental step they are taking to undermine immigration enforcement and grant de facto amnesty to as many illegal aliens as possible. This report exposes the strategy and the policy objectives behind it.
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President Barack Obama came to office in 2009 and pledged that during his first year of office he would enact amnesty legislation for illegal aliens living in the U.S. That, of course, did not happen—not because of any lack of ideological commitment on the part of the President, but because of pragmatic considerations.
Only two years earlier, then Senator Obama watched as President George W. Bush tried to toss the American people into the boiling cauldron of comprehensive amnesty in 2007. It didn’t work. Voters angrily crashed the Capitol switchboard on the day the Senate was set to vote and as a result, 14 Democrats joined 39 Republicans to vote down the amnesty legislation. As President, Obama concluded—correctly—there just is not an appetite in Congress for another politically bruising fight over comprehensive immigration “reform.”
Understanding that Members of Congress ultimately would not ignore the unequivocal objections of their constituents to amnesty, the Obama administration opted to adopt a strategy of dismantling immigration enforcement in order to achieve the same ends. The administration hoped that while the American people were focused on unemployment, crashing real estate values, banking scandals, health care reform, foreign policy crises, and countless other issues, they would not notice what was actually taking place.
This report details how the Obama administration has carried out a policy of de facto amnesty for millions of illegal aliens through executive policy decisions. Since 2009, the Obama administration has systematically gutted effective immigration enforcement policies, moved aggressively against State and local governments that attempt to enforce immigration laws, and stretched the concept of “prosecutorial discretion” to a point where it has rendered many immigration laws meaningless. Remarkably, the administration has succeeded in doing all this without much protest from Congress.
Thus, despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution grants Congress plenary authority over immigration policy, the Executive Branch is now making immigration policy unconstrained by constitutional checks and balances. This report chronicles the events that have unfolded over Obama’s presidency.