12:00 AM, Nov 29, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
“Give me your tired, your poor … your huddled masses … wretched refuse … the homeless,” implores the Lady in New York harbor. Little can she know that 11.4 million of these “tempest-tost” souls are already here, having arrived illegally, most from Mexico and points south. Some 4-5 million of those illegal, or “undocumented” immigrants to use the description preferred by pro-immigration advocates, no longer are threatened with deportation orders. President Obama has told officials not to enforce the law against parents with children who, having been born here, are American citizens, and to grant them the “green cards” necessary to seek jobs in the legal workplace. Temporary but similar treatment is to be given “for the benefit of the U.S. economy” to entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers.
Lawyers are doing what they do best, disagreeing with one another as to the legality of the president’s decision to by-pass Congress, a squabble that will eventually be settled in the Supreme Court. Economists are engaged in a more productive exercise, trying to determine the impact of immigration in general and the president’s edict in particular on economic growth and the labor market.
There seems to be as general agreement as economists are capable of mustering that increased immigration has a positive effect on the rate at which the U.S. economy can grow. As Diana Furchtgott-Roth, formerly chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, puts it in a comprehensive paper to be released on Monday by the Manhattan Institute, a think tank: “Immigration, on net, boosts economic growth. … It expands America’s work force and encourages business start-ups … [and] increases economic efficiency by supplying more labor to low- and high-skill markets.” Obama’s recent decision, say many economists, will add a bit of zip to the economy, already growing at an annual rate of 3.9 percent. A group at UCLA projects that in the short term the president’s action will add $6.8 billion to labor income, $2.5 billion to the tax collectors’ coffers, and create 160,000 jobs. The White House estimates that by the stroke of his pen Obama has added somewhere between 0.4 and 0.9 percent to GDP, or between $90 billion and $210 billion over ten years.
Why, then, the outrage by Republicans and many Democrats? In part because, as the old jazz ditty goes, “’T’Aint What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It.” Most Americans have no desire to deport illegal immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens. But most Americans also worry that unilateral action by the president represents the exercise of just the sort of power that the drafters of our Constitution sought to deny any president lest they be faced with a homegrown version of King George III. Remember: the Americans who finally resorted to revolution originally sought to be ruled by parliament rather than the monarch. For “parliament” read “Congress,” and for “the monarch” read “the president.”
Then there are the political consequences—an eventual increase in the Democratic party’s core voters. The millions now safe from deportation will be augmented by another wave of illegal immigrants, hoping for similar generous treatment at some future date. That’s what happened after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty. These immigrants, when given the opportunity, will overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, who generally favor expanding the welfare entitlements that did not exist as a lure for earlier waves of immigrants. Republicans are uncomfortable with the reduction in the portion of votes cast by their own core—whiter, older, married, richer Americans—which will surely occur when the immigrants’ eventually granted path to citizenship leads into the voting booth.
But it is not only richer Republicans who worry about the consequences of the president’s move. Lower-income groups are also uneasy with allowing the beneficiaries of Obama’s largesse to enter the legal work force. George Borjas, the Harvard professor widely described as “America’s leading immigration economist,” says that immigration lowers the wages of American workers, including blacks and U.S.-born Hispanics. Other studies show that there is a ripple effect, as low-paid immigrants receiving work permits move into better-paying work. After Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, only 4 percent of until-then illegal immigrants remained in farm jobs, the bulk moving into better-paying construction work. Good for them, not so good for Americans faced with new competition. Borjas concludes that “immigration makes the U.S. economy (GDP) significantly larger, with almost all of this increase in GDP accruing to the immigrants themselves as payment for their labor services.”
7:38 PM, Nov 26, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama made an amnesty joke at the annual turkey pardon today at the White House. He also, as a joke, used the same language he used to justify his executive amnesty order talked about the legal authority he had to pardon the turkey, which is traditionally done by presidents the day before Thanksgiving.
Calls it a "fact."7:42 PM, Nov 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House has argued that President Obama's executive amnesty order last week was made well within the existing law. But in remarks in Chicago tonight, President Obama went off script and admitted that in fact he unilaterally made changes to the law.
President Obama made the admission after getting heckled for several minutes by immigration protesters.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:28 PM, Nov 21, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on President Obama's newly announced executive actions on immigration policy and amnesty.
10:41 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
George Washington, 1796:
“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are…of fatal tendency. …
6:31 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted on CNN that President Obama has indeed flip-flopped on executive amnesty--and that the actions he's taking now are ones he previously called unconstitutional. Here's video:
CNN host Anderson Cooper asks, after playing a montage wherein Obama calls executive amnesty unconstitutional, "So, I mean, other than his frustration, what has changed? I mean, he's a constitution scholar. What has changed that allows him to do this?"
Censure-plus.Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By JAY COST
For responding to a president who defies his constitutional limits, Congress is said to possess four powers: to impeach, to defund, to investigate, and to withhold confirmation of nominees.
But there is a fifth recourse, which the new Republican Congress might consider in view of President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants: the power to censure. In fact, censure could work in tandem with Congress’s other powers, helping the legislature make the moral case for responding to the president’s lawlessness.
Obama stands alone, alas.Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By FRED BARNES
There’s a lesson from President Obama’s first term that he should have learned long ago. It’s simple: On an issue that affects many millions of Americans, it’s best—even necessary—to have bipartisan support in Congress. Going forward in a purely partisan fashion is bound to cause national discord, increase polarization, and heighten distrust in Washington. Worse still, it means the issue will be controversial for years to come.
Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
"Brain drain” is a phrase that first appeared in the 1950s, when London’s Royal Society expressed concern about the number of British scientists, engineers, and physicians being lured to the United States. Its concern was not misplaced: The Second World War had essentially bankrupted Britain, and in the wake of postwar privations and the nationalization of health care, the number of British professionals crossing the Atlantic to affluent America was substantial.
10:14 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A group of immigration activists gathered outside the White House after President Obama's speech tonight. CNN played a clip of the activists' celebrating:
9:34 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Senator Jeff Sessions says he’s not convinced his fellow Republicans have a plan to successfully combat President Obama’s newly announced executive orders on immigration.
“I haven’t seen the details of a plan to confront this unprecedented power grab,” Sessions said in a phone interview Thursday evening. He added that while plenty of his Republican colleagues have released “tough” statements following Obama’s announcement, he hasn’t seen the party coalesce around a plan.
8:27 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Jeff Sessions responds to President Obama's executive amnesty speech:
"President Obama’s executive amnesty violates the laws Congress has passed in order to create and implement laws Congress has refused to pass. The President is providing an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants with social security numbers, photo IDs and work permits—allowing them to now take jobs directly from struggling Americans during a time of record immigration, low wages, and high joblessness.
8:16 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama’s immigration speech, as prepared for delivery:
My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.
5:42 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A Capitol Hill source emails to say that "The National Immigrant Youth Alliance has posted what appears to be an embargoed copy of the White House summary of Obama’s illegal executive action."
5:24 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
House speaker John Boehner released a brief YouTube message ahead of President Obama's Thursday night address on his executive action on immigration.
"The president had said before that he's not king and he's not an emperor," Boehner says. "But he's sure acting like one."
Watch the video below: