With thousands of illegal immigrant children – some of whom may belong to dangerous gangs – flooding across the border and possibly bringing contagious diseases with them, President Barack Obama on Monday vowed to change as many of the country’s immigrations laws as possible on his own.
Speaking at the Rose Garden with Vice President Joe Biden behind him, Obama acknowledged the recent “surge of unaccompanied children” and said the immigration rules are so “unclear” that “folks don’t know what the rules are.” He then promptly vowed to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”
The president, who has repeatedly boasted about his “phone and a pen” strategy, said he does not like issuing executive actions but would do so anyway if Congress does not give him the bills he wants.
Obama said he would begin to move “resources from our interior to our border” and ask Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to send him recommendations for additional unilateral actions that he can take before the end of summer. Obama said he would adopt their ideas “without further delay.”
As the Associated Press noted, moving resources to the border will “effectively further reduce the number of deportations in the country’s interior by stressing enforcement action on individuals who are either recent unlawful border crossers or who present a national security, public safety, or border security threat.”
The White House is reportedly working on giving temporary amnesty to the parents of so-called DREAMers, easing deportations, and potentially allowing some recipients of temporary amnesty to enlist in the U.S. military with executive actions. On Friday, amnesty advocates stormed Congress, demanding deportation relief for the parents of illegal immigrant children, and Obama said in his weekly address that he will “keep taking actions on my own” if Congress does not act on amnesty legislation.
After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was ousted because of his support for amnesty legislation, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told Obama that there will not be an immigration vote this year.
Breitbart Texas’s photos of illegal immigrant children being warehoused in detention facilities forced the mainstream media to cover the issue, and a recent Gallup poll found that two in three Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling immigration right now.
This will not be the first time Obama has acted unilaterally on immigration.
In 2012, Obama, by executive fiat, enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gave temporary amnesty and work permits for two years to illegal immigrant children who met a variety of requirements.
As Breitbart News has reported, “at least 560,000 people to date have been granted temporary amnesty under the DACA program,” and that number, according to federal officials, will only increase in September, when those who were not 16 years of age in 2012 will be able to apply for initial DACA status along with current DACA recipients who will be applying for a two-year renewal.
The Obama administration recently honored ten activist DACA recipients at a “Champions of Change” White House ceremony. As Breitbart News reported, “that prompted Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), who is the Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, to say the ‘tone-deaf’ event is an example of the type of messaging that is ‘fueling the unprecedented surge of immigrant children being smuggled across our southern border’ by ‘flaunting the success stories of ten immigrant children who entered the U.S. illegally.'”
“How can we expect to dispel rumors throughout Central America that children who enter America illegally will be allowed to stay while simultaneously touting the success stories of a few illegal immigrant children granted de facto amnesty by the administration?” Miller said. “The sad truth is that most of the children being smuggled across the border today, in unprecedented numbers, will not have similar success stories.”
Promises of more executive actions may lure more illegal immigrant children to try to make the treacherous journey to America.
There have been at least “52,000 unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors have crossed the border since October of last year, and nearly 150,000 more may attempt to next year because they believe the Obama administration, which ignored the warning signs, will not deport them.”
As Breitbart News has reported, the Obama administration has gone on a public relations campaign in Central America to tell parents that their migrant kids will not receive amnesty. Central Americans are not buying the White House’s words, as “nearly all of the illegal immigrants – many of whom have been flagging down Border Patrol agents believing they will get ‘permisos’ that will allow them to indefinitely remain in the United States – who are arriving made the journey from Central America with the belief that the Obama administration will not deport them and their families if they made it across the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Biden has met with Central American leaders, and Secretary of State John Kerry will do so Tuesday. Obama wrote a letter to Members of Congress Monday asking them to help with the administration’s so-called “deterrence strategy.”
At the Rose Garden, Obama claimed that his administration has sent a “clear message” to Central American migrants that they will not be able to live freely in the United States if they make it across the border. Yet Obama’s vow to enact as many executive actions as he can this summer may have, at best, muddled his message even more to those in Central America thinking about making the journey to America.