Lamar Smith: Obama's Amnesty Hurts American Taxpayers

Granting deportation stays also encourages more illegal immigration.

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Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Last year, President Obama said that he couldn't "suspend deportations through executive order" because "there are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system." He also noted that "Congress passes the law. The executive branch's job is to enforce and implement those laws." But President Obama has contradicted himself and his word, and has broken his promise to the American people.

[Rep. Gutierrez: Obama's Deportation Exemption Is Legal—And Good Policy]

The president's recent decision to give amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants insults the American people and ignores the rule of law. This decision may violate his oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

The president is misleading the American people when he says children will benefit from this amnesty. Under this major policy change, illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children up to the age of 30 will be allowed to remain—not exactly children. These illegal immigrants will likely receive work authorization and compete with unemployed Americans for scarce jobs.

[See a collection of political cartoons on immigration.]

The president's amnesty hurts American taxpayers since it serves as a magnet for fraud and encourages more illegal immigration, which already costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year, including healthcare and education costs. Fraud and more illegal immigration will further increase these costs on taxpayers.

Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children or are under the age of 30 and the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true. And amnesty only motivates more illegal immigrant parents to smuggle their children illegally to the United States hoping to benefit from this amnesty. While some have estimated that over 1 million illegal immigrants will benefit from this administration's policy, the truth is that it could benefit millions more when fraud and more illegal immigration are factored in.

President Obama's amnesty blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy and violates his oath to uphold the laws of the land. Congress has the constitutional authority to determine our nation's immigration laws. Less than two years ago, when President Obama had large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the DREAM Act failed to pass. Executive branch discretionary authority is meant to be applied on a case-by-case basis, not to entire categories of illegal immigrants.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Is Obama Right to Grant Young Illegal Immigrants Work Permits?]

This move by President Obama is clearly a political ploy announced a few months before an election. But if the president thinks pandering to Hispanic voters will win him an election, he is wrong—Hispanic voters are smarter than that.

The truth is that President Obama's record of job-killing policies has hurt Hispanics. One million fewer Americans are working today than when the president took office. The unemployment rate for Hispanics is above 11 percent, about 3 points higher than the national unemployment rate. And President Obama's amnesty will further diminish job opportunities for Hispanics struggling to find a job and make ends meet.

With this amnesty, millions of unemployed Americans' dreams of going back to work are crushed because they will have to continue to compete with illegal immigrants for scarce jobs. We can only afford for one more person to lose their job—President Obama, because he has undermined the rule of law and hurt unemployed Americans.

  • Read why Hispanics are key to a victory in the 2012 presidential race
  • Take the U.S. News Poll: Does Mitt Romney Need to Solidify His Position on Immigration?
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