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Why Obama may regret his lax immigration policy

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Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:18 am, Sat Sep 1, 2012.

Last week, 10 Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents filed a lawsuit in a Dallas federal court against their superiors, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE director John Morton.

Agents claim that the administration's 2011 prosecutorial discretion memo which eliminates deportation for all but criminal aliens, and President Obama's June 15 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which grants two-year legal residency, force them to break existing laws. Both programs provide work authorization; at least two million new potential workers will be added to the millions unsuccessfully looking for jobs.

Laws already on the books require agents to process apprehended illegal immigrants. The 1996 Immigrant Responsibility Act mandates that aliens be detained and that no "prosecutorial discretion" can be exercised until the alien appears at adjudication. Only then can an individual case be reviewed and possibly decided in favor of the immigrant. Nevertheless, in violation of federal law, DHS exercises discretion unilaterally.

Boiled down to its bare bones, the agents' suit claims that it's illegal to order federal officers to break laws they swore to uphold.

Pundits interpret the administration's actions as part of an outreach strategy to garner Hispanic votes. And the mainstream media has repeatedly emphasized that Hispanic votes are crucial to Obama's re-election efforts.

The truth, however, is that in a close election any minority demographic voting bloc will be important — senior citizens, veterans, Asians, non-Hispanic Blacks or Hispanics. By a large margin, the most important bloc is non-Hispanic whites. According to an analysis of Census Bureau and Current Population Survey data taken from previous election years, non-Hispanic whites will total 73 percent of voters. By comparison, Hispanics will comprise about nine percent. Since many Hispanics live in California, New York and Illinois, states Obama can't possibly lose, or New Mexico, which has a meager five electoral votes, the administration's game plan is curious. What does Obama gain?

Prosecutorial discretion and DACA represent a significant gamble. Obama could get Hispanic votes but, because of his new policies, also lose larger voting blocs, which in turn would cost him the election.

Factor recent unemployment statistics into the muddled equation, and Obama's questionable strategy turns incomprehensible. DACA allegedly helps young Hispanics by giving them work permits. But converting previously ineligible workers (because of their immigration status) into legal job-seekers is a devastating blow to Hispanic-Americans.

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics broad measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers who have given up the search, during the second quarter of 2012, 19 percent of Hispanic citizens (one in five) were jobless. For Hispanics under 30 with only a high school education — those most likely to compete with illegal immigrants for lower-paying, entry-level jobs in the hospitality industry — the U-6 jobless rate is above 30 percent. Furthermore, the Associated Press reported last year that about 1.5 million (53.6 percent) of American bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed.

I've consistently argued that the essential votes in this year's election are disenchanted and frightened middle-class Republicans and Democrats — the moderates and independents.

Consider this: The non-partisan Sentier Research parsed the latest Census income data. Sentier discovered that the three-and-a-half years of Obama's presidency have done enormous harm to middle-class households.

In January 2009, when Obama entered the Oval Office and shortly before he signed his $800 billion-plus stimulus spending bill, median household income was $54,983. By June 2012, it had tumbled to $50,964, adjusted for inflation. Real income lost: $4,019, or about one month's wages per year.

Given 2012's hard economic reality and the agents' lawsuit, which will keep the White House's prosecutorial discretion programs front and center, Obama's craven blueprint to secure the Hispanic vote could backfire. Ethnic identity politics is a loser.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:51 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866


    What is the rule of law cannot be the rule of law in Ms. Bobin's eyes
    if it cramps her style and is contrary to her ideology.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:02 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Mr Liebich posted...Actually, Mr. Liebich, entering the United States illegally is not considered a crime. Look it up." Joanne Bobin 10:09 am Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
    Then Ms Bobin posted... I'm so glad you have "saved" my comment, Mr. Liebich.

    What is so significant is Ms Bobin's mind set and attitude. No matter if entering the USA illegally is a crime or not, the Bobin types sincerely think it an irrelevant event when someone breaks the law by entering our country without permission. Bobin types hope and pray that this illegal activity will not be considered a crime so that these people will be available for ACORN organizations to enroll and vote in our system. The greed and selfishness she exposes in her character speaks to the bankrupt character liberals have developed. No wonder so many consider liberalism a disease.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:46 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I'm so glad you have "saved" my comment, Mr. Liebich.

    It is probably the closest thing to the truth that you EVER post in this forum.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 11:23 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    "Actually, Mr. Liebich, entering the United States illegally is not considered a crime. Look it up." Joanne Bobin 10:09 am Tuesday, August 14th, 2012


  • Ann Winters posted at 12:42 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Ann Posts: 27

    Ms Bobin,

    There are many of "us" in Lodi who miss Joe. "We" know who we are. If the shoe fits, fine. If not, then disregard the comment. That should be simple to understand.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 12:39 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866

    Ms. Bobin:

    No we're not hoping you ever share our sentiments about Joe. Because when that day comes it will probably be when Joe has flipped his lid and we may be forced to agree with you. Heaven forbid.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:54 am on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    We? I suggest you speak for yourself, Ms. Winters.

  • Ann Winters posted at 11:08 am on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Ann Posts: 27

    I love to show off my typos![innocent]

  • Ann Winters posted at 10:51 am on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Ann Posts: 27

    Thanks, Joe. As always, your intelligence, foresight and reseach comes shinning through. We do miss you in Lodi!

  • Ann Winters posted at 10:47 am on Sat, Sep 1, 2012.

    Ann Posts: 27

    Thanks, Joe. As always, your intelligence, foresight and reseach comes shinning through. We do miss you in Lodi!


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