August 20, 2012
Unintended consequences often foil the best laid plans. Such will be the case with President Obama’s executive order to remove from possible deportation at least 1.8 million aliens age 16-30.
To the Obama administration the strategy doubtlessly appeared cut and dried. By caving into the open borders lobby, granting the DREAMers a reprieve and giving them work authorization, Obama secured the far left wing vote even though he had it all wrapped up. The feeling within the Obama camp doubtless was that Republicans wouldn’t mount serious objections and that, therefore, whatever storm clouds gathered would soon pass.
Obama was right on the first count but will be likely be wrong on the second. Except for the valiant House Judiciary Committee chair Lamar Smith and the dependable but less influential U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA), it’s all quiet on the GOP front.
In the meantime, however, major daily newspapers have published nationwide headline stories with above the fold photographs of long lines of illegal immigrants waiting outside Mexican consular offices. Once inside, they get help in filling out I-821 D and I-765 forms, their U. S. Customs and Immigration Service applications for deferred action and work authorization. Although Americans have for years been promised that the young aliens are professionals-to-be, requiring assistance from pro bono lawyers and other advocates to fill out simple forms belies the concept that the young aliens are destined for the executive suite.
Another problem the Obama administration didn’t anticipate is that the DREAMers demands immediately escalated from quasi-permanent residency and work permits to insistence on driver’s licenses and instate tuition. Wanting more is the most predictable truism in immigration policy; for illegal immigrants no single concession is ever enough. Their supplemental requests for licenses and discounted tuition will keep the flames fanned for already angry Americans.
The mainstream media stories about childhood arrivals supplemented with quotes from aliens’ advocates insisting on tuition breaks and driving privileges will continue right up to November 6th. That ensures that prosecutorial discretion will remain high visibility to voters even in states with little immigration that Obama needs to carry if he expects to win. In other words, amnesty plays well in California, New York and Illinois but poorly in the mid-Atlantic and other mid-West states where jobs trump alien outreach. Obama gets no net gain since California, New York and Illinois are already solidly blue.
More unanticipated consequences: according to the Labor Department, in July 44 of 50 states lost jobs. Between today and November, there’s little chance that economic data will improve and a far greater likelihood that it will deteriorate. Last month, many crucial swing states suffered employment declines including Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. Four have higher unemployment rates than the national average; Nevada, Michigan, North Carolina at 9.6 percent and Florida, 8.8 percent.
Jobs are the 2012 election’s crucial issue. Try as he might, Obama won’t be able to get mileage out of Bain Capital or Mitt Romney’s income tax returns. Go to your local mall and ask the first 100 people you see to explain Bain Capital. Only a tiny fraction will respond. But then ask those same 100 if they’re worried about their jobs or disheartened because their friends and family are among the 20 plus million unemployed or underemployed Americans. Their reply will be an overwhelming “yes.” Giving work permits to previously unemployable aliens (because of their immigration status) during sustained high unemployment is a risky strategy that quickly moved out of the intended voter target area and into the general populace where it’s received poor reviews from the average American voter, the demographic that’s essential to Obama’s re-election chances.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org