Nov 10, 2014
The midterm elections were a rout. The GOP took eight, most likely nine Senate seats, about a dozen House seats and control 70 percent of the state legislatures across the country. How’d they win? Republican candidates pummeled the airwaves with three hot button issues, Obamacare, economy and immigration.
Watch Kimberly’s One America TV news segment here
“Only one ballot question was focused specifically on immigration: Measure 88 in Oregon (a blue state), to grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. The same voters who backed liberal Democrat Governor John Kitzhaber for a fourth term and approved marijuana legalization also voted against licenses for illegals by a two-to-one margin. Opposition to Measure 88 got more votes than any candidate or any question on the Oregon ballot. And this despite opponents being outspent by more than ten-to-one,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a right-leaning think tank told National Review.
Another Democrat hit list favorite was immigration-control leader Kansas’s secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who was labeled as “America’s Worst Republican” by The New Republic, and was targeted for defeat. The conservative won reelection by 18 points.
But it looks like the president didn’t get the memo. After Tuesday’s historic midterm losses in both houses of Congress and state legislatures, he used his bully pulpit the next day and defiantly said, “I heard the American voters and they were clear that they want us to ‘get stuff done.’”
Really? After six years in office, two historical midterm landslides and the “Constitutional scholar” tells the electorate Washington needs to not do “stupid stuff” so he can “get stuff done?”
Exit polls from the landslide election clearly illustrated the Obama administration’s lack of understanding of the regular folks. The top three issues on the voters’ minds; the economy/budget 45 percent, Obamacare 25 percent and immigration 14 percent, but the red title wave’s fatal blow came when two-thirds of the voters indicated the country is on the wrong track.
Predictably the president chose not to extend a hand and work on piecemeal legislation that would move the immigration discussion forward. Instead he doubled down on his threat to use his pen, effectively bypassing Congress, to legalize an unspecified number of illegal aliens residing in the country while the GOP threatened gridlock. Essentially a day after the election the status quo returned for both parties.
The president stipulated that his executive order would be invalidated if Congress passed a comprehensive immigration bill before the end of the year. But the elections took a bite from the congressional schedule and it’s expected that lawmakers will start with the trillion-dollar defense-spending bill later this week.
Nevertheless the president was not shy about telling Republicans exactly what he wants in an immigration bill. “I think that the best way, if folks are serious about getting immigration reform done, is going ahead and passing a bill and getting it to my desk,” Obama lectured reporters at his first press conference after the midterm rout. “And then the executive actions that I take go away. They’re superseded by the law that is passed. And I will engage any member of Congress who’s interested in this in how we can shape legislation that will be a significant improvement over the existing system.”
But the existing system doesn’t even have an accurate number of illegal immigrants that unlawfully call America home. Is it 11, 20 or 30 million? And American’s should question Obama’s seriousness when he claims that his executive order is temporary? Does anyone believe the newly legalized immigrants will voluntarily leave once Congress passes a slightly different law that doesn’t include them?
Mr. Obama told CBS Face the Nation the situation was dire. “We don’t have the capacity to deport 11 million people. Everybody agrees on that.”
But the White House press pool grilled the president on immigration issues and repeatedly asked the president if he took responsibility for the midterms shellacking. So far the president is sticking to his guns and insists an executive order will happen before the end of the year.
“I think the president’s threatening this because he wants to do it,” Charles Krauthammer told Fox News. “I think he’s all the more anxious to go ahead and do this because it makes him relevant, it makes him the center of the universe again. He is not a happy man that he was asked for a year by his own Democrats to stay away and be invisible. This is a guy who doesn’t enjoy being invisible and, look, what are we talking about tonight? A little bit on the election itself, and now about what he’s going to do. He’s back in the game, he’s relevant now. This is exactly why he wants immigration.”
But Krauthammer cautioned the GOP. “Republicans have to resist the temptation, this is impeachment bait or all kinds of nonsense bait. Do what you can, suspend the financing of this because you have the power of the purse. But create your own agenda and don’t allow Obama to suck you into a one-issue fall.”
Newly christened Senate-elect GOP leader Mitch McConnell warned President Obama that any attempt to use executive action would be “like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
National Journal left-leaning reporter Ron Fournier put it more bluntly. “After this (the election) repudiation, acting on immigration by fiat would be the political equivalent of literally flipping the country the bird.”
What about the fence?
Every time “Amnesty or pathway to citizenship” argument arises, lawmakers stakeout their territory—the left plays the compassionate card and the right says secure the border. But didn’t Congress already pass the Secure Fence Act of 2006?
President George W. Bush proclaimed the “bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.” The Act set out to use 21st century technology to build a fence that would stem the tide of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It authorized the construction of 700 miles of additional fencing along the southern border with Mexico, add vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to prevent illegal immigration; it also authorized the Department of Homeland Security to use cameras, satellites and drones to reinforce the border infrastructure with $10.4 billion in 2007. The Act passed in the House with a vote of 283-138 and Senate 80-19 (with then Senator Obama’s support).
Unfortunately, the promises died in the appropriation process for the new secure border bill because lawmakers’ pulled the bait and switch tactic that effectively neuters legislation in the appropriation process.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) proposed an amendment to give DHS the discretion to decide what type of fence was appropriate in different areas. The law was amended to read, “nothing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location.”
She further claimed that, “Border Patrol agents reported that coyotes and drug-runners were altering their routes as fencing was deployed, so the amendment gives our agents discretion to locate the fence where necessary to achieve operational control of our border.”
Subsequently, in 2008 and 2010 lawmakers tried, and unsuccessfully reintroduced legislation to construct at least 700 miles of double-layer fencing. In the end, the failure to finish the fence was blamed on lack of funds and Senator Hutchison who gave DHS the discretion to decide what kind of fence was necessary, including the decision to not build a fence.
So far, DHS claims it has completed 651 miles of traditional fencing, including roughly 300 miles of vehicle hurdles (people can walk through this type of fence) and 350 miles of pedestrian barriers at a cost of nearly $3 million per mile. Only 40 miles of that fencing is double-layered.
Meanwhile, House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced over the weekend the GOP was prepared to work with the President on immigration reform when it comes to H-1B Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) visas and ensuring farm workers in California can stay and pick berries. Perhaps Issa has forgotten about the 60 percent of American kids with STEM degrees that are NOT working in their chosen field while wages have flat lined. Or did the congressman miss the destruction of the Golden State’s breadbasket to protect the Delta smelt, a three-inch fish that isn’t even native to the central part of the state.
Yes elections have consequences, but gauging the current partisan bickering, when the music stops, it’s American’s who won’t have a chair to sit in.
Previous story: Obama doubles the U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq: Link here
For previous border story: Congressman says Mexico facilitating terrorists’ entry into U.S: Link here
Previous drone story: Link Here
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