President Barack Obama’s predecessors have taken executive action on immigration, but no previous president has acted on such grand scale or justified his move by prior executive action instead of a statute. In 1987 and 1990 Reagan and George H.W. Bush were acting with the support of Congress, rather than in defiance of its leaders. They used prosecutorial discretion to shield specific small groups of people from deportation (e.g. young children of recently legalized immigrants) in line with the amnesty law which Congress had already passed.
By contrast, Obama is using prosecutorial discretion to adopt a comprehensive policy of non-enforcement of the duly enacted immigration law. His audacity is breathtaking: he acts on the assumption that he can pick and choose which laws to enforce, in open violation of Article II Section 3 (the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”).
In the fullness of time Obama’s de facto amnesty will apply to all twenty-odd million illegal aliens – not to mention additional legions of new illegals who will be encouraged to cross the border by the increased likelihood that they will never be deported. The President’s attitude to the immigration crisis was evident in his claim that he has “seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers.” In Obama’s world, merely not having “the right papers” is a trifling matter, an issue of excessive bureaucratic pedantry which can be corrected by executive fiat.
Long-term effects of Obama’s amnesty will be catastrophic, not only in the legal and constitutional sphere. Millions of newly legalized workers will join the mainstream labor market, thus depressing wages and employment prospects for less-educated Americans. The U.S. population will increase from 320 million today to 440 million in 2050—a 120 million increase, according to the Census Bureau estimate. New immigrants and their descendants are expected to account for 80 million (or 67 percent) of that increase. Even those staggering figures are based on the assumption that immigration levels will remain static. Net immigration has been increasing for the past half-century, however, and there are no signs that the trend is changing. If it continues, the increase caused by immigration may well be higher than the projected 80 million—taking us easily to an America of half a billion people only decades from now.
Far from enhancing America’s “diversity,” the ongoing deluge threatens to impose a numbing Third-World sameness, to eradicate the remnants of this country’s identity, and to demolish what survives of her special character. On current form, not only will English-speaking Americans of European origin become a minority in their own country only decades from now, but they will share an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, culturally unrecognizable country inhabited by tens of millions of aliens, including millions of actual or potential jihadists and their accomplices, aiders and abettors.
Whether this criminal idiocy can be stopped is now open to doubt. Obama and the cultural-Marxist ruling class see self-annihilation of the American nation with a historical memory and a cultural identity as the key to their revolutionary project. With last Thursday’s announcement Obama has made a major new step in that direction.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.