SOTU: President Offers Conflicting Policy Goals on Immigration and Income Inequality, Charges FAIR
Threat to Impose Amnesty by Executive Fiat Must Be Opposed by the House
(January 28, 2014 — Washington, D.C.) - In his State of the Union (SOTU) address, President Obama urged Congress to “make this a year of action.” Prominent on his list of domestic policy priorities outlined in the address were: (1) creating opportunities for the struggling middle class; and (2) granting amnesty to an estimated 12 million illegal aliens and significantly increasing future immigration.
“These two policy goals are mutually incompatible,” charged Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “With 92 million working age Americans either unemployed, under-employed, or not participating in the labor market, the president’s immigration agenda would only further depress the wages of most American workers. No amount of government regulation, or mandated increases in the minimum wage, will narrow the income gap so long as the supply of labor dramatically exceeds the demand for workers.”
President Obama’s immigration agenda, encompassed by the Senate bill (S. 744), would make 12 million illegal aliens immediately eligible to compete legally for every job in the U.S. economy. It would also add 20 million new immigrant workers to the U.S. labor force within a decade. “In an economy that created just 74,000 jobs last month, the president’s immigration policies would decimate what remains of the middle class he claims he wants to save,” observed Stein.
“Enforcing immigration laws and setting sensible limits on new immigration are critical elements to any effort to boost the wages of working Americans and entice millions of idle workers back into the labor force,” Stein said. “The president already has the power to discourage illegal immigration by enforcing laws against the employment of illegal aliens. He already has a mandate from Congress to secure our borders and deport illegal aliens when they are apprehended. Yet, the president is openly defying these laws – the very laws that would aid struggling American workers – in order to achieve his political goal of amnesty for illegal aliens.”
Moreover, in his SOTU speech the President signaled he has no intention of reversing course and faithfully executing our nation’s immigration laws. Instead he offered House leaders an implicit threat that if they do not act on his agenda he will assert executive authority to unilaterally implement his policies. “[W]herever and whenever I can take steps without legislation…that’s what I’m going to do,” he warned. President Obama has repeatedly abused executive authority to grant de facto amnesty to entire classes of illegal aliens and discretionary authority to ignore countless immigration statutes during his five years in office.
“Before considering any new immigration legislation – especially bills that would further undermine American workers, increase costs to American taxpayers, and compromise national security – the House must exercise its constitutional responsibility to hold the president accountable for enforcing laws already on the books,” continued Stein.
“Americans consider it a priority that all branches of government and both parties work together to bolster our sagging economy and create conditions for all Americans to earn a dignified living. There is little public support, or urgency, to grant amnesty to illegal aliens or to increase the influx of new immigrants. The leadership of the House must resist President Obama’s immigration agenda and his threats to impose his will and, instead, concentrate on ensuring that existing laws are carried out in the interests of the American people,” Stein concluded.