Published September 21, 2010
It is widely known that President Obama is a basketball fan and a player as well. In his role as commander in chief, Obama is sort of like the nation’s point-guard, the guy expected to run the offense and carry out the team’s game plan. But increasingly the president seems less like he’s running the offense for the benefit of America and more like the “me first” sort of point guard who is content to go it alone, regardless of what America’s game plan is.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to immigration policy. Across the country, the American people are moving in one direction, while the Obama administration heads the other way.
Take the most recent poll from Quinnipiac University. They found that a whopping 60 percent disapprove of the way Obama is handling illegal immigration. And 50 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans now agree that immigration reform should “move in the direction of…stricter enforcement of laws against illegal immigration.”
But instead of enforcing the laws, the Obama administration continues to ignore them. Workplace enforcement of immigration laws has fallen dramatically: Administrative arrests are down 79% from 2008, criminal arrests are down 62%, and convictions are down 70%.
When it comes to sanctuary cities, the Obama administration also takes the wrong side. Rasmussen Reports found that 54 percent of voters “say the Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants.”
And "61% of voters believe the federal government should cut off funds to cities that welcome illegal immigrants and offer them various forms of sanctuary.” But the Obama administration has said they will not take action against sanctuary cities, despite the fact that sanctuary policies violate federal law and the will of the people.
According to an Obama administration memo, officers should release from detention or dismiss cases against many illegal immigrants who have already been caught. The administration is also proposing that the agency responsible for immigration enforcement should no longer respond to local law enforcement agencies that identify illegal immigrants during legitimate traffic stops.
And, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo obtained by Senator Chuck Grassley, the Obama administration is also scheming to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay and work in the United States and not be deported. That’s amnesty for law-breakers.
One of the most outrageous proposals is to use DHS’ limited authority to grant deferred action on a broad basis. This would allow certain individuals for whom “no relief appears available” to remain in the U.S. indefinitely and receive work authorization. This would also give amnesty to millions of illegal workers.
When states step in to fill the void and protect their residents, the Obama administration has shown it will oppose their efforts. The Obama Justice Department has taken the rare step of suing Arizona to stop its enforcement of immigration laws. That suit is one of three recent actions by the Obama administration against the state: they are also challenging a local sheriff over his enforcement of the state’s anti-smuggling law, and suing the Maricopa County Community College District over its hiring practices designed to screen out illegal workers.
The problem, of course, is that the people of Arizona are not the opponent – Arizonans, like other Americans, are on the side of the law!
Most Americans view it that way. According to a recent CBS News poll, 73 percent of Americans support Arizona’s law, calling it "just right" or saying that it doesn't go far enough.
Candidates for office also recognize this trend. Across the country, those who want to serve in elected office are again running away from amnesty and instead running on pro-enforcement platforms.
The fact is that America has a different game plan when it comes to immigration than the one that President Obama is carrying out. As the president’s sagging approval ratings show, nobody likes the kind of point guard who ignores the team. The American people want their government and their president to put their interests first. They want President Obama to run his offense with Americans’ interests in mind.
Republican Rep. Lamar Smith is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. He represents the people of the 21st Congressional District in Texas.
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