Black Angelinos Harmed by Illegal Immigration, Ignored by Leaders
Perhaps no group of Americans is harmed more by mass immigration than black Americans, and no group of black Americans has been hit harder than those who live in Los Angeles. In response to increasing calls for help from black Angelinos, FAIR’s Field Department organized a community meeting to help local residents make their voices and concerns heard.
The August 6 meeting drew about 100 people from across the greater Los Angeles area. Black Angelinos expressed their frustration about the impact of mass immigration — particularly illegal immigration — on their communities, their children’s schools, and on their ability to find jobs. Among those who addressed the group was Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose 17-year-old son Jamiel Jr. was murdered outside his home by an illegal alien gang member who had recently been released from police custody. Notably absent from the event were any of Los Angeles’ black political leaders. Twenty-two elected officials were invited to listen to the concerns of their constituents and not a single one bothered to show up.
The event was far more than just an opportunity to air grievances. As FAIR has done across the country when political leaders have refused to address the concerns of citizens, the event offered an opportunity for people in the community to organize and network to force change from the grassroots up.
Obama Administration Declares Administrative Amnesty for Illegal Aliens
Cases Against Non-Criminal Aliens to be Dropped Unilaterally
In a policy statement posted on the White House website and in letters to leading members of Congress, the Obama administration declared what amounts to an administrative amnesty for nearly all illegal aliens without criminal records. Under the guise of setting enforcement priorities, the administration announced that it would review some 300,000 pending cases against deportable aliens, with the intent of dropping the cases, and would cease to initiate new proceedings against illegal aliens without criminal convictions.
The statement, posted on the White House website by Intergovernmental Affairs Director Cecilia Munoz, lists broad categories of illegal aliens whose cases are likely to be dismissed under the new policy. Simultaneously, in letters to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate Democrats who support the DREAM Act, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that potential DREAM Act beneficiaries would no longer be subject to removal.
The August 18th policy announcement takes dead aim not just at the integrity of U.S. immigration law, but on the constitutional separation of powers. Under our constitution, Congress has the exclusive authority to make immigration policies. It is the constitutional responsibility of the Executive Branch of government to carry out and enforce the laws passed by Congress whether the administration in office agrees with them or not. The timing of the announcement, while Congress was in recess, was also designed to limit the Legislative Branch’s ability to react.
The administration’s new policy offers illegal aliens more than relief from deportation. DHS indicated that those whose cases will be dropped will be eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States and would almost certainly receive it. Thus, in spite of repeated assertions by President Obama that he lacks the constitutional authority to grant amnesty to illegal aliens without legislative action by Congress, the policies being implemented by his administration amount to precisely that.
In addition to illegal aliens who would be eligible for amnesty under the DREAM Act—legislation that Congress has repeatedly declined to enact since it was first proposed in 2000—the policy would also protect illegal aliens who have family members in the United States. Even those who do not fall into those categories would be unlikely to face deportation so long as they refrained from committing other crimes in the U.S.
The administration offered the untenable excuse that enforcing laws against non-criminal aliens distracts from their effort to remove people who pose a greater danger to American society. Secretary Napolitano argued that deportation proceedings against non-criminal aliens are “clogging immigration court dockets” and consuming monetary and manpower resources from her department. While no one would dispute the need to prioritize the removal of violent criminals, no other legitimate law enforcement agency in the world would suggest that they should stop enforcing all other laws. It remains DHS’s responsibility to enforce all of the immigration laws enacted by Congress.
The administrative amnesty is clearly tied to President Obama’s re-election bid. The president has been under mounting pressure from Hispanic and illegal alien advocacy groups to take the steps his administration took on August 18. Concurrent with the policy announcements, the White House held a conference call with dozens of illegal alien advocacy groups to spell out the benefits that would be provided. The changes were greeted with praise by the illegal alien advocates. “Today’s announcement shows that this president is willing to put muscle behind his words and to use his power to intervene,” stated Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Congress’s most outspoken amnesty supporter.
The responsibility to block the administration from carrying out this amnesty plan now rests with Congress when it returns to session. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who termed the plan a “backdoor amnesty,” has already introduced legislation aimed at curbing the administration’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion. The Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act (HALT) — H.R. 2497 — was introduced in July with the clear objective of preventing the administration from carrying out the very policies that are being expanded by this recent announcement.
FAIR immediately took a lead role in informing the American public about the policy and constitutional implications of the administration’s amnesty plan. In the aftermath of the announcement, FAIR spokespeople appeared on national and local television and radio, and in leading newspapers, denouncing the administration’s move. FAIR will also work with members of Congress in an effort to prevent the Obama administration from carrying out this harmful and unconstitutional quasi-amnesty.