My disgust with the failure to fix our broken immigration system for so many years has most Americans of both parties in agreement.
However, this current administration's continuing failure to enact an extension of the most significant tool in the immigration reform tool box, E-verify, is just plain immoral.
The Obama Administration has done many things to repair the damage of the Bush years, but has apparently cast a blind eye on what surely will become a political moral sore of significant size as the Depression of 2008 worsens into years of US citizen distress.
Most recently, as reported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on June 3, 2009,
"For the fourth time this year, implementation of an executive order requiring that all federal contractors use the E-Verify system to check worker's eligibility has been postponed. With no rule in place, federal contractors will be accessing billions of dollars of stimulus money while having the freedom to hire illegal aliens and displace U.S. workers.
"The delay provides further evidence of the Obama administration's unwillingness to enforce U.S. immigration laws and its intent to abandon even minimal protections for American workers struggling to find jobs as the economic crisis drags on. The move belies administration promises to get tough on employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens at the expense of American workers and taxpayers."
President Bush signed Executive Order 12989 on June 6, 2008, making it mandatory for the federal government and its contractors to use E-Verify to ensure that they are employing only American citizens or legal immigrants with work visas. E-Verify is 99.5% accurate and answers most inquiries about legal status in seconds.
The political image of the new Administration now could not be better. President Obama is flying high and the Republicans are looking mighty weak. But as the Bible tells us in Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
As a Democrat who voted eagerly in 2008 for our present President, and one who wishes his Administration every good wish for success, my concern and dismay about its direction on immigration reform is also one of puzzlement. Surely with its record of elegant and highly successful poll taking and political organization, the Obama forces are aware that many immigrants, including those US citizens and legal visa holders of recent dominant ethnic Hispanic origin are just as concerned about jobs, public services, education for their children and our Rule of Law as everyone else.
As usual, FAIR's Dan Stein puts the compelling case for E-verify right on the table:
"The same administration that rushed through the most massive spending bill in history before anyone had a chance to read it claims to need months of delay to review regulations for a program that state and local governments are already using successfully. Given the magnitude of the employment crisis, and given this administration's record of swift action, the executive order requiring that federal contractors use E-Verify should have gone into effect months ago. The fact that we are facing yet another delay demonstrates that gaining amnesty for people who broke our immigration laws remains a higher priority for President Obama than the plight of millions of unemployed Americans."
Stein didn't use the word, "Immoral", but as a Democrat who has such high hopes for my party's success, I feel impelled to brand this latest delay as such. My party controls the White House and the Congress, so it can do the right thing with immigration reform. My party is also pushing for "comprehensive immigration reform" which we know is just another major amnesty. This is of course at present a politically unpropitious proposition. And will remain so, as any amnesty initiative should, far into the future. So crippling the one good instrument for just, effective, and urgently needed control, which is now working almost perfectly, makes the party in power's attitude doubly disturbing.
"Who has the ethical right to balance the supply of labor with the demand for jobs? The United States government? Other nations? Employers? Or immigrants looking for jobs?
"Illegal aliens comprise about 50 percent of the annual immigration into the U.S. As they enter the labor market minorities and unskilled workers at the bottom end of the pay scale are displaced from the labor force. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black adults suffer twice the unemployment rate of whites, while black teens register 35 percent."
OK, Sir, the obviously right thing to do with E verify is moral, politically correct, and urgently required in these troubled times. Do your duty and stay on moral message!
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.