On Wednesday, President Obama threatened to veto the House of Representatives’ proposed border bill. Obama particularly disliked provisions of the bill designed to amend the 2008 law that allows illegal immigrant minors from non-border countries to stick around for years awaiting deportation proceedings.
His statement explained:
By setting arbitrary timelines for the processing of cases, this bill could create backlogs that could ultimately shift resources away from priority public safety goals, like deporting known criminals. This bill will undercut due process for vulnerable children which could result in their removal to life threatening situations in foreign countries.
In other words, Obama wants to keep newly arriving illegal immigrant children – not the ones who have already arrived, and are not covered by the House bill – stuck in legal limbo for two or more years.
Just weeks ago, Obama himself called for changes to the 2008 law. He sent a letter to Congress asking for authority to “exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained, “There are some challenges that are posed by the current law, this 2008 law.”
Now, however, Obama has flip-flopped on the issue – the better to polarize the debate around illegal immigration.
This isn’t the first time that Obama has flip-flopped on immigration. Here are four other instances of such wavering:
Border Security. Just a month ago, Obama proposed additional border security for the Rio Grande valley – and he wanted billions to fund it, supposedly. But in May 2011, Obama spoke in El Paso, stating, “You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics. But the truth is the measures we’ve put in place are getting results.”
Executive Orders. In March 2011, Obama stated, “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.”
As Politico noted, when Obama was confronted in November 2013 by a protester yelling that Obama had “power to stop deportation,” Obama said, “Actually I don’t.” Obama went on, “If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”
Today, of course, Obama has declared an endless stream of executive actions designed to loosen consequences for illegal immigration.
E-Verify. As the Washington Post has pointed out, in March 2004, Obama wrote on a questionnaire that he opposed the government “crack[ing] down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.” In 2008, he said, “we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation.” Now, of course, Obama just wants to hand out work permits like candy.
Deportation. Just last Friday, President Obama said that illegal immigrant minors would be sent home. “We have to deter a continuing influx of children putting themselves at great risk,” he said. That same day, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Roughly 5 million of the estimated 11 million people who entered the country without legal authorization or overstayed their visas could be protected under a leading option the White House is considering.”
President Obama’s failure to take a strong stand on illegal immigration is mere trolling at this point. He wants to tell his constituents that Republicans are out of their minds for worrying about the border, while simultaneously incentivizing millions to cross that border. He wants to suggest that he’s interested in solving the problem even as he exacerbates it. He’s hoping that the chaos he creates will somehow precipitate a handover of even more power to him. Instead, it’s just angering Americans, as well it should.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.