Fox News reported last night possible details of the president’s lawless immigration plans. The ten-point plan, which could be announced as early as next Friday, includes work permits for up to 4.5 million illegal aliens, an expansion of the earlier lawless DACA amnesty (covering perhaps another 300,000 illegals), and pulling the plug on the Secure Communities program (which runs the fingerprints of arrested suspects through DHS databases at the same time they’re checked by the FBI). These are all demands of Obama’s leftist and ethnic-chauvinist constituencies; what the corporate interests get is a unilateral increase in job-related green cards, by illegally exempting dependents from the numerical caps. The plan would also give a raise to ICE officers to “increase morale,” as though that’s the reason for the despair among law-enforcement officers prohibited by their political superiors from enforcing the law.
It’s not clear who leaked the “draft proposal from a U.S. government agency” that Fox’s report is based on, but it confirms the speculation about the elements of Obama’s planned edicts. My guess is this was leaked by the White House itself so that when it makes the actual announcement (which I still don’t think will happen till at least mid-December), it will be able to present it as old news.
In any case, the ball is now in the Republican House leadership’s court. With all due respect to Andy McCarthy, impeachment is out of the question; there is almost nothing the first black president could do that would lead to his impeachment. Yes, it’s a double standard, but Obama was only nominated and elected because of his race, so his de facto immunity from impeachment should not come as a surprise.
But Congress still has the power of the purse. While it cannot stop Obama’s passive abuse of discretion (his exempting the vast majority of illegal aliens from immigration enforcement, for instance), it can use that power to prevent active abuses, like the provision of work permits, Social Security cards, and driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, which would be politically irreversible.
This is why the message of today’s National Review Online editorial rejecting a long-term budget deal made in the lame duck is so important. Harry Reid will obviously not agree to any funding riders prohibiting Obama from issuing work permits to illegal aliens. Also, the Republican leadership has already said it’s not going to engineer another government shutdown. But in the next Congress, the House could pull out the Homeland Security budget (rather than fold it into an omnibus funding bill for the whole government) and attach the rider just to that, so when Obama vetoes it, only DHS will be subject to a “shutdown.” The reason for the quotation marks is that it won’t be much of a shutdown since law-enforcement components continue to function as “essential personnel,” including the Border Patrol, the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, ICE, and the TSA. In fact, the chief component of DHS that actually would be idled by a budget battle would be US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the very bureau that would have to implement Obama’s lawless amnesty.
This creates a Catch 22 for Obama, if only the GOP has the wit to exploit it — if he signs a DHS budget with the rider prohibiting his amnesty, then it doesn’t happen (though he would still be able to implement certain other parts of his lawless plan). But if he vetoes it, the agency that he needs to process the amnesty is furloughed, so the amnesty still doesn’t happen.
But all this depends on Congress approving a short-term spending bill (a Continuing Resolution or CR) now — one that would keep spending at the current (absurdly high) levels for the next two or three months, so the new GOP-run Congress can have a free hand. If spending were locked in till September 30 (the end of the fiscal year) the opportunity to halt the amnesty will be lost; it would take months to implement the amnesty, so little will have happened by January or February, but once millions of people are legalized, even if it’s ostensibly temporary, it will be impossible as a practical political matter to revoke their work permits, Social Security cards, drivers licenses, etc.
Harry Reid or the president could try to kill such a short-term spending bill, but that would be politically difficult if the Republicans propose no changes to current spending. What would be their public rationale for shutting down the government?
For now, there’s only one thing that citizens observing the sausage-making in Congress need to know: A vote for a long-term spending bill is a vote for amnesty. It’s as simple as that.