Who Voted to Bring 33 Million Immigrants North?

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Americans pride ourselves on being people who have a government. But these days, it more often seems as if we’ve got a government that has people.

And that government is even selecting who its people will be, having–within a generation–essentially imported a state’s worth of new people through immigration.

Since 1970, the number of “Hispanics of Mexican origin” in the U.S. has jumped from fewer than 1 million to more than 33 million. If all these Mexicans were a state, it would be the second largest in population in the country, trailing only California.

Did you vote to approve that immigration policy? Did anyone? In fact, the federal government allowed it to happen without any voter input. That’s by design.

In recent years, Congress has attempted to draft legislation to deal with illegal immigration. And while the controversial “Gang of Eight” bill passed the Senate in 2013, it died in the House after one of its authors withdrew his support. Immigration is a difficult topic, one that will require difficult discussions.

Instead, the Obama White House would prefer to short-circuit the political discussions.

“America cannot wait forever for them to act. That’s why today I am beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” President Obama warned last summer. After the November elections, he acted to grant amnesty to millions of illegals.

In February, a federal judge put a hold on that policy while he determined its legality. The administration admits it went right on ahead, issuing 2,000 more waivers. Now, an appeals court has upheld the stay. But the White House says it will press ahead.

“[T]he administration’s enforcement priorities, including our focus on deporting felons and not families, and many other executive actions on immigration continue to move forward,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters this week. “It would be a shame if an issue so critical like this became mired in a political dispute.”

But Schultz has it exactly backward. If our representative system of government means anything, it should mean that the people have a say in the big issues facing our country.

It’s precisely because the issue is so important that it deserves to be a subject of political disputes. It’s through the political process–in the presidential and congressional elections of 2016–that voters can finally have a say in the nation’s immigration policy. We’ve already waited far too long.


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