When the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations on July 10, 2014, the secretary made certain that all of the senators in attendance heard these words early on in his prepared statement: "Our message is clear to those who try to illegally cross our borders: you will be sent back home." What might have been missed, before that sentence, is this one, which came just a few words earlier: "As Americans, we will adhere to domestic and international law, due process, and the basic principles of charity, decency, and fairness."
Since that time, deportations of illegal immigrants, who presently reside in the United States, has slowed to a trickle, specifically when it comes to those persons arriving from the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In searching for news stories about deportations of these individuals, since Secretary Johnson gave his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have managed to only come up with a handful of reports, which suggests that the secretary may actually be doing something quite different than sending these illegal immigrants home.
Consider the report of 40 Central American Immigrants Deported, published on July 14. Or, perhaps you may have read the story which was paired with this headline: 59 migrants deported from US arrive in Honduras, published overseas on July 18. After many hours scouring electronic news reports, regarding the removal of illegal immigrants from Central America who have illegally crossed into the United States since October 1 of 2013, these two stories are the only two that I can locate which I can confirm have been published following Secretary Johnson's appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known by the acronym ICE, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is the U.S. government agency directly responsible for the enforcement of U.S. immigration law, including the deportation of those individuals who are present in the United States unlawfully.
If, in fact, ICE has only deported approximately 100 of the estimated 60,000 illegal immigrants from Central America who have arrived in the United States since October of last year, the message is very clear: the administration of President Barack Obama is determined to use these individuals for a very specific purpose related to money and the exercise of political power. Could President Obama's proposal to extend his "deferred action" status to an additional five to six million illegal immigrants really occur as early as Labor Day, according to former Republican presidential candidate and columnist Pat Buchanan? More importantly, in terms of the potential impact on voting patterns and demographics for this year's mid-term congressional elections, is the first black president of the United States truly prepared to sacrifice the goodwill of the African-American voters who have given him two terms in the White House, simply for the purpose of retaining the present Democratic majority in the United States Senate?
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, who is one of a bare handful of Obama administration officials opposing the amnesty plan, recently was quoted in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, which asked for these congressmen and women to oppose any amnesty for illegals, as reported on breitbart.com, "Illegal immigration has a disparate impact on African-American men because these men are disproportionately represented in the low-skilled labor force...The dearth of job opportunities gives these men less confidence in their ability to support a family, and gives women reason to fear that these prospective husbands will be only another mouth to feed." African-American voters could feel betrayed by Obama, if, in fact, the president decides to go through with additional "executive actions" on immigration, effectively granting more rights to public assistance and jobs to illegal immigrants, than to the African-Americans who voted at a 93% clip for Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
So, when Jeh Johnson refers to the Obama administration "fixing" the immigration system if Congress chooses not to, isn't he, in fact, saying that the Obama administration has already chosen a winner, and African-Americans are not the socioeconomic group that President Obama is throwing his political capital towards now? Furthermore, where does Congress fit into Johnson's present course of decision making and strategizing?
Secretary Johnson, apparently, wishes to make it appear as if Congress has not been addressing the issue of illegal immigration at all. When the U.S. House of Representatives voted to provide emergency spending to deal with the current invasion of illegal immigrants, the will of the House was exceptionally clear: House members are completely done with President Obama's attempt to personally rewrite U.S. immigration law, through a 2012 executive order referred to as DACA. While the president and the Senate have roundly decried this move, a majority of voters are highly supportive of the House attempt to put a significant dent in illegal immigration into the United States. The latest Rasmussen Reports surveys regarding voters' attitudes towards the recently arrived illegals from Central America, and their thoughts on whether or not the president, himself, has been instrumental in encouraging illegals from the central and southern Americas to come here, in direct violation of U.S. laws, is very significant. 56% of likely voters say that the U.S. should send young illegals back to their country of origin as quickly as possible, while 46% believe that President Obama is directly accountable for the recent influx of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Whether or not the U.S. State Department and the president have had a direct part in state-sponsored human trafficking currently involving El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is an open question, there is no doubt that the current crisis is taking it's toll on the president's approval ratings.
In the latest average sampling from Real Clear Politics, President Obama's overall approval rating has slumped to 41.4%, while the percentage of Americans who disapprove of the way that President Obama is performing in office has risen to an astonishing 55.1%, up almost 10% from a year ago. In a new poll from AP-Gfk, 68% of respondents polled disapprove of the president's handling of immigration issues; a margin of greater than two to one against, and a number that is up 8% in just two months. It will be difficult for the president to insist, with a straight face, that the present course of his administration on the immigration issue is going to wind up delivering more votes to Democrats this fall, let alone during the 2016 presidential election; that is, unless those he is attempting to help remain in the country are going to become a part of the voting demographic for upcoming federal elections, both this year, and in 2016.
Perhaps it seems a reasonable thought to believe that it isn't that Johnson is unwilling to deport these illegal aliens. Perhaps the reality, within the Obama White House, is that it is President Obama himself, and not Johnson, who does not want to see any of the children invading the U.S. sent back home. If the president is able to ensure that he can reunite the kids with their parents, and guarantee to all of them that mom and dad will get to have the same right to vote for a Democrat this fall as a U.S. citizen, then perhaps the president is prepared to take that risk. Another five to six million Democratic voters is not an insignificant number of votes. With those kinds of numbers, and having them spread out across the fifty states, it is conceivable that the president, through a single executive action, could very well increase Democratic Party vote totals by as much as 3-4% in every state in the union. While that would alienate a significant number of African-Americans, any backlash coming from their community would be quietly and easily muted by the Democratic Party machinery as a whole, along with the admonishment, "remember what we have already done for you."
From my perspective, I get the feeling that the president has arrived at the point, in regards to his political calculus, where the amount of financial impact on states and localities from illegal immigration, as pointed out in a report on the costs of illegal immigration in the United States, is significantly less important to him than what he might stand to lose once he leaves office, should he be unsuccessful in keeping the illegal aliens that are in the United States here, and helping them to participate in the electoral process itself. I have a great deal of empathy for those on the south side of Chicago suffering from the gun violence that has become a scourge on their community, partially fueled by a lack of employment opportunities for the city's black population, as a direct result of the influx of thousands of illegal immigrants who are more than willing to work for less than the minimum wage, and gladly employed by hundreds of employers hoping to improve the bottom line of their companies. Not only does the community not have the funds needed to deal with the violence itself, the changing demographics, that include a significant population which does not even have a lawful right to be employed within the U.S., continues to siphon off resources that are desperately needed to tackle the ongoing problems within the city of Chicago proper, and Cook County as a whole. What may seem counterproductive to me apparently is going to continue to be embraced by Democratic leaders; at least at the federal level. I just don't see any of them stepping up to tell me how they intend to reduce my local tax burden, that continues to increase as my hometown is forced to deal with the continued influx of those that these same "leaders" have no problem continuing to permit to remain in the United States. The presence of the "new illegals" is not benefiting myself or my community. How about in your town?