Despite High Unemployment, Obama Puts Amnesty on the Agenda

Federation for American Immigration Reform, FAIR Legislative Update, February 23, 2009

This week, as a guest on a Spanish language radio show, President Obama stated his continued support for giving amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants, which would force Americans looking for a job to compete with amnestied aliens for work. (El Piolin Interview, February 18, 2009 and CBS4–South Florida).

During the radio interview, President Obama said: “We’re going to start by really trying to work on how to improve the current [immigration] system so that people who want to be naturalized, who want to become citizens . . . are able to do it; that it’s cheaper, that it’s faster, that they have an easier time in terms of sponsoring family members.” Following that, President Obama acknowledged what legal American workers already know intuitively–that amnesty is not in their best interest–but then endorsed amnesty anyway. President Obama said: “And then we’ve got to have comprehensive immigration reform. . . . Politically it’s going to be tough. It’s probably tougher now than it was, partly because of the fact that the economy has gotten worse.” (El Piolin).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 11.6 million Americans are currently unemployed and the number of unemployed Americans has increased by 4.1 million over the past year. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2009). Millions more have simply stopped looking for work. Just last month, 598,000 Americans lost their jobs. Particularly troubling among the unemployment data is the fact that certain minorities such as African-Americans are experiencing greater unemployment (12.6 percent) than the nation as a whole.

President Obama also said his staff was working on amnesty already, stating: “we’ve got some wonderful people on my White House staff who are working on this issue on an ongoing basis.” Earlier this week, open-borders advocates suggested that they expect that Congress will debate amnesty legislation in the fall of 2009. (NDN, February 20, 2009). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s director of Hispanic media has confirmed the likely timing for debate as well. (O Jornal, January 30, 2009).

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