Exec Amnesty Makes It Tougher for Blue-Collar Family Obama Highlighted in SOTU to Move Up Economic Ladder

AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool
AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool

In his Tuesday State of the Union speech, Obama touted the resilient story of Rebekah and Ben Erler, a blue-collar couple from Minnesota. The Erlers were newlyweds seven years ago before falling on some tough times due to the recession. But Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants and push for comprehensive amnesty legislation will make it tougher for other couples like the Erlers to move back up the economic ladder.

“Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way,” Obama said. “They were young and in love in America, and it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Obama said that Rebekah wrote to him last spring: “If only we had known what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.”

“As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time,” Obama continued. “Rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off.They bought their first home.They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job, and then a raise. Ben is back in construction – and home for dinner every night.”

In his first State of the Union address to a GOP-controlled Congress, Obama implied he would veto any bill that defunds his executive amnesty, saying any bill that refights “past battles of immigration when we’ve got a system to fix” will “earn my veto.”

Obama’s executive amnesty would give work permits to at least five million illegal immigrants, and Obama has relentlessly pushed Congress to pass comprehensive amnesty legislation that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of working Americans.

Obama concluded his speech by saying he wanted future generations of Americans to “grow up in a country where a young mom like Rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story to sum up these past six years: ‘It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.'”

During a time in which a record number of Americans remain outside of the workforce, Obama’s executive amnesty would make it more difficult for blue-collar families who are down on their luck to rebound. As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has noted, “Harvard professor George Borjas has estimated that massive immigration would cost American workers nearly $402 billion a year in lost wages, while corporations that employ and benefit from immigrant labor would gain around $437 billion in profits.”

Responding to Obama’s State of the Union speech, Sessions said that Obama “remains wedded to a lawless policy that serves only the interest of an international elite while reducing jobs and benefits for everyday Americans.” He mentioned that “all net employment gains since the recession in 2007 have gone to foreign workers, and yet the President has violated federal law in order to provide work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants—allowing them to take any of the few good jobs that exist.”

“In effect, the President delivered an address tonight to a Congress whose authority he does not recognize and to a public whose votes he has nullified with an imperial edict,” Sessions continued. “Congress must use every tool at its disposal to stop this unlawful edict, end the immigration lawlessness, and reverse our slide towards congressional irrelevance.”