According to an article in the Washington Post, ICE expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, which is nearly 10 percent more than the Bush administration’s 2008 total and 25 percent more than were deported in 2007. The Obama administration has also far outpaced the previous administration in terms of audits of employers who may be employing unauthorized workers. Yet even while immigrant advocates decry the administration for spending billions on immigration enforcement and deportation and for failing to move ahead on comprehensive immigration reform, immigration restrictionists continue to deny that enforcement is taking place.
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies stated that while the administration focuses on some illegal immigrants with criminal records, others are allowed to remain free, creating a “sense of impunity.” So the U.S. is deporting people but they’re not the “right” people? Krikorian doesn’t want ICE to prioritize terrorists, violent criminals, and gang members?
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo—who never misses an opportunity to express extremist sentiments—took things even further and wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times in which he calls for President Obama’s impeachment on the grounds that he is not enforcing immigration laws:
For the first time in American history, we have a man in the White House who consciously and brazenly disregards his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.
Huh? Just last Thursday the Administration vigorously defended the Constitution and the federal government’s constitutional authority over immigration law by challenging Arizona’s recently passed immigration law on the grounds that it violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.
But I guess that didn’t count. Last week, several senators tried to pass an amendment which would have prohibited the Administration from continuing its lawsuit and defending the federal government’s constitutional authority. So Obama does defend the Constitution but he shouldn’t be allowed to? I suppose when facts don’t matter, it’s easy to end up with conflicting or even nonsensical stories.
It’s clear that no matter what this administration—or any other administration—does to enforce immigration laws, immigration restrictionists will not be happy, and no amount of enforcement will be enough. Those who claim we must enforce the law first before moving toward comprehensive immigration reform have no intention of acknowledging enforcement has been done and moving to step two. They have nothing except more enforcement.
The Obama administration must continue to educate the public about all of the immigration enforcement it has done and must continue to defend its supremacy in immigration law. But to distinguish themselves from the restrictionists, the administration and Congress must move on to step two—comprehensive immigration reform—immediately. They must demonstrate that they are serious about finding a fair, practical, sustainable solution.
Photo by Brian Kersey.