President Barack Obama pleased racial advocacy groups and the president of Mexico when he conferred a measure of legality on a sizable population of illegal aliens. Critics called Obama’s policy change backdoor amnesty.
Obama's actions should raise a question: Did he overturn the 1986 Amnesty law?
On the heels of Obama’s decision to change policy without working with Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the immigration law the state of Arizona passed largely because the federal government has not done the job Congress legally established in passing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
The under 30 hope and change crowd would probably not be able to answer a single question about the bill. However, the climate surrounding IRCA was similar to the climate today—the system was “broken” and something had to be done. A key tenet of the bill was to make sure employers didn’t hire illegals, but the penalty for doing so amounted to a slap on the wrist.
The current administration isn’t fully enforcing IRCA. Unless the bill has been repealed, this failure should be questioned by members of the press who have access to the president.
For instance, here are a few provisions in IRCA, the amnesty bill of 1986 [boldface added]:
“─Expresses the sense of the Congress that the immigration laws of the United States should be vigorously enforced, while taking care to protect the rights and safety of U.S. citizens and aliens.
─Prohibits the adjustment of status to permanent resident for violators of (nonimmigrant) visa terms.
─Makes legalized aliens (other than Cuban/Haitian entrants) ineligible for Federal financial assistance, Medicaid (with certain exceptions), or food stamps for five years following a grant of temporary resident status and for five years following a grant of permanent resident status (permits aid to the aged, blind, or disabled).
─Title IV: Reports - Directs the President to transmit to the Congress: (1) not later than January 1, 1989, and not later than January 1 of every third year thereafter, a comprehensive immigration-impact report…
─ States that essential elements of the immigration control and reform program established by this Act are increased enforcement and administrative activities of the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and other appropriate Federal agencies.
─ Prohibits implementation of a major change unless the Congress provides funds for such purpose. Authorizes related demonstration projects of up to three years.”
Perhaps it’s time for a discussion about why a president can dismiss a federal law, ignore the difficulties border states are experiencing and never once mention the welfare costs of a new policy that amounts to legislation without benefit of Congress.
Related at The US Report
Related on the Web
A Bailout for Illegal Immigrants? Lessons from the Implementation of the 1986 IRCA Amnesty (Center for Immigration Studies)
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/June 26, 2012)