“Are the borders really secure?” is probably not the best set-up for the next Geico commercial. No, they’re really not secure.
This president would have us believe otherwise. His immigration speech in El Paso, Texas, bordered as much on deception as it did physically with Mexico, just over the Rio Grande. President Obama - now candidate Obama -- did his best to convince Americans that our borders are secure and that interior enforcement is up in order to justify amnesty for illegal aliens to appease his special interests supporters and stoke his voting base.
The problem is that when given close scrutiny, the president’s claims range from minor omissions to major whoppers. Here are
1. “We are deporting those who are here illegally”
The president is suggesting that deportations are up. Not so fast.
The number of deportations in 2009 and 2010 is higher under the Obama administration than at any other time, but it’s not because of increased enforcement. The higher numbers reflect many removal cases that were already in the pipeline, leftovers from Bush-era enforcement. Once those removals are complete, one wonders how the deportation numbers can possibly be sustained since few new removal cases are being initiated because large numbers of non-criminal illegal alien cases are being dismissed by executive fiat. Deportations have, in fact, already declined slightly from 2009 to 2010.
Ultimately, the Commander-in-Chief should be deporting illegal aliens and not expect a gold star for simply enforcing the law, nor using basic immigration enforcement as a bargaining chip for amnesty. Even at a rate of 400,000 removals per year it would still take the federal government 30 years to remove the 12 million illegal aliens currently living in the U.S.
2. “We’ve increased the removal of criminals by 70 percent”
True, but with a major catch. More criminal aliens – illegal aliens who commit violent felonies – are indeed being deported but it is to the exclusion of almost all other illegal aliens!
Think of two similarly sized pie charts, each representing overall deportations. One is 2009, the other is 2010. The 2010 pie is about the same size but is sliced much differently because DHS deported more criminal aliens in 2010. This is the basis of the deception. The president is taking credit for increasing the percentage of criminal aliens removed, hoping we don’t notice that most other illegal aliens are just being ignored. Thus, the Obama Administration is gradually accomplishing an “administrative amnesty” while simultaneously convincing Americans that enforcement has increased.
Criminal-aliens-only immigration enforcement was never the intent of Congress. Laws regarding removal apply to all illegal aliens, irrespective of whether they have committed additional crimes. By selectively choosing classes of people to which the laws apply, the administration is ignoring federal law and conferring upon itself the power to act as it sees fit and as it suits the political whims of the president.
3. “The fence is now basically complete”
The fence has basically hit a wall and has for a long time. There are only 32 miles of the recommended double layer fence built and only 649 miles of single layer fence on a border that’s 2,000 miles long. DHS’s own estimates show that less than half of the southern border is under operational control. And entirely lost in the discussion is the Canadian border and U.S. coastlines, unsecured areas that mounting terrorist threats can, and will exploit.
4. “We’re going after employers who knowingly exploit people and break the law.”
Worksite raids have been abolished and replaced with paper audits that impose modest fines that employers simply roll into the cost of doing business. Employers are given a slap on the wrist and illegal alien employees are simply released.
During a January 2011 hearing of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Rep. Lamar Smith (R- Tex.) reported that, “in the area of worksite enforcement, arrests have fallen 77%; criminal arrests are down 60%, indictments are how 64% and convictions have fallen by 68% since 2008.”
The media made much of President George W. Bush’s ill-fated 2003 “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln in which he prematurely proclaimed “an end to major combat operations in Iraq.”
President Obama’s similar proclamation that our borders are now secure and immigration enforcement has increased deserves no less attention, particularly since the next stage of planned operations is amnesty.
Bob Dane is Press Secretary/Communications Director for Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Bob Dane is Communications Director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).