By Jena McNeill
It’s that time of year again—the time for White House meetings aimed at placating the pro-amnesty lobby.
There is lots of placating to do. It is almost an election year, meaning that soon politicians will engage in the time-honored tradition of duck and cover—which means they are definitely not interested in passing any kind of controversial legislation.
President Obama has very few avenues by which to pursue his campaign promise of granting amnesty for the 11 million (down from 12 million) illegal immigrants inside the United States.
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With limited options, Administration officials are holding a high-level meeting on immigration, as they have done every year since President Obama has come to office. This time Al Sharpton got an invite. So did Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Some of the people in the room may change—but the objective of amnesty never does.
A better agenda for the White House immigration meetings would be to stop focusing on amnesty and get serious about reform. The lesson of the 1986 amnesty was that allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States sends the message that the U.S. does not take its law seriously and that once you get here, you will be allowed to stay. The lax enforcement of laws meant that the illegal immigrant population in the United States went from 2.7 million in 1986 to 11 million in 2011.
Another amnesty would only set up another generation to come illegally and put the country back in the same or a worse position all over again. A better solution would focus on increased interior enforcement, a robust border security strategy, and reforms in legal immigration that will not contribute further to illegal immigration.
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Instead, the Administration is biding its time petitioning courts to outright dismiss immigration cases against non-criminal illegal aliens in cities around the country—which is equivalent to a de facto amnesty. That’s also why the Department of Homeland Security has rolled back key enforcement measures like Social Security No Match and changes to 287(g).
All signs indicate that the White House is not serious about solving the problem, and so the public should continue to expect White House amnesty meetings where participants complain about how the immigration system is broken but are not willing to do what it takes to actually fix the problem.