Will Amnesty Make an Appearance in this Year’s Lame-Duck Session?

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As the peak frenzy of the nation’s border crisis settles, the question of immigration reform remains unanswered. President Obama and his pro-amnesty cohorts have promised to move on the matter but we’ve yet to see tangible evidence.

Even Republicans are pushing for amnesty-like reforms and many think they’ll move forward with such policies during this year’s lame-duck session.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is against reform that includes any version of amnesty, said he thinks GOP leadership may “spring it on us” after November.

President Obama is entering the last two years of his Presidency, and may feel at liberty to implement extremist policies like amnesty in hopes of leaving a legacy.

In fact, Sen. Chuck Schumer said recently that if Republicans don’t act, “the President will have no choice but to act on his own.”

The subject is especially touchy because of the GOP divide. Other usually Republican supporters, such as the Chamber of Commerce, have put pressure on Republicans to pass reform as well,saying “If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016.”

Most recently, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue and Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, have pushed hard for Congress to pass amnesty legislation by the end of the year.

Timmons said he thinks it will be the last piece of legislation passed in this year’s lame-duck session.

However earlier this year, Speaker John Boehner vowed that Republicans would block any vote on immigration in 2014. Boehner told Obama that “the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him to enforce the law as written.”

Opinions from our nation’s leaders, from liberal to conservative, are across the board on what proper immigration reform will look like. The question now is what legislation can the majority agree on to move the needle forward on this pressing issue? The lame-duck session may provide a temporary answer.

Lessons from Ferguson

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The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Democrat pols are busily seeking to take political advantage of the Ferguson tragedy by linking voter registration to the protests. Perhaps the Democrats should be careful what they wish for.

The Ferguson tragedy occurred just days after the first African American St. Louis County Executive was ousted by a white challenger in a racially charged Democratic primary. Primary victor Steve Stenger made a point of viciously trashing the African American incumbent. A key element of the campaign was the endorsement by Democratic County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who made vague accusations of corruption even though he never brought charges or convened a grand jury on the subject. Yes, that’s the same Bob McCulloch who is resisting protesters’ demands for charges against the police officer who killed Michael Brown.

The other key players are also Democrats. Although nominally non-partisan, it is inconceivable that Ferguson city officials like Mayor James Knowles could have been elected without the blessing of local Democratic leaders. Embattled Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson was placed in office by the mayor and city council, all likely Democrats. County police chief Jon Belmar is a “non-partisan” political appointee of a police board appointed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who is under fire for his delayed, then ambiguous and ultimately inadequate reaction to the Ferguson riots.

More significantly, almost all of African Americans long-term problems have been brought on by a parade of policy failures by Democrats. Blacks remain proud of and loyal to President Obama, but their economic plight has worsened during his administration. While overall unemployment has rebounded back to the level when the President took office, black unemployment remains high. Democrat economic policies have eliminated full-time jobs, replaced them with part-time jobs without benefits. Cuts in military personnel are cutting off a major avenue of African American advancement. Meanwhile, a soaring stock market, driven by cheap-money monetary policies, makes the top 1% even richer, thereby worsening the very income gap between the races that the party rails against. And now, the President’s encouragement of illegal immigration threatens to provide competition for the poorest blacks for the low-wage entry-level jobs that they need for subsistence.

So, let’s get this straight. Stenger. McCulloch. Nixon. Social and economic woes brought on or worsened by Democratic office holders. This is what African Americans are expected to rally and support?

In contrast, on the same day county Democrats were denying renomination to the black county executive, a contested Republican primary in predominantly white southwest St. Louis County resoundingly nominated Ballwin Alderman Shamed Dogan, an African American former aide to former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), for a seat in the Missouri legislature. Dogan now runs unopposed for the safely Republican seat in the general election. And during the Ferguson crisis itself, while prominent Democrats were jockeying for time on camera, the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition organized a BUYcott to help Ferguson shops that had been devastated by the riots.

For sure, African Americans have supported Democratic candidates since the Great Depression, but the popular definition of insanity is the repeating the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Apparently Democrats are counting on African American voters being crazy.

What should concerned African Americans learn from the Ferguson debacle? A better strategy for this election year would be to stand down and refuse to validate their Democrat oppressors. Ferguson underscores how their leaders have misled them. While significant ticket splitting for Rick Stream, the Republican candidate for county executive, would send a powerful message, standing down and refusing to vote at all would send an even stronger message. Instead of being reliable votes for a Democratic Party that takes them for granted and fails to produce for them, African Americans would be better served by listening and giving serious consideration to different approaches. Iowa farmers get whatever they want from Congress because they shift their votes back and forth depending on whichever party best serves their interests. African Americans should learn from their example.

The spontaneous Tea Party BUYcott demonstrated that conservatives aren’t out to get African Americans and do really care. Democrat opportunists seeking to fan the flames of violence demonstrated that Democrats really don’t.


The House Meltdown is Not Just About Strategy

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One of the most egregious aspects of Barack Obama’s presidency – if not the most egregious aspect, is his contempt for our borders and sovereignty.  Among all of Obama’s illegal and imperial acts as president – and there have been many – none of them have affected laws more fundamental to preserving our existence as a sovereign nation like his administrative edicts granting amnesty and inviting in illegal immigrants from around the world.

Yet, instead of using the power of the purse or even simply expressing outrage against Obama’s open borders policies, Republican leadership has remained indifferent for the past few years.  Concurrently, they joined with Democrats and publicly agreed with the premise that passing amnesty is one of the most pressing priorities of our time.  In fact, if not for those dreaded outside conservative groups and the fervent opposition of the GOP base, these same Republicans would have easily passed the Gang of 8 comprehensive amnesty bill.  Even after they were forced to oppose that bill, they merely expressed opposition to its comprehensive nature while echoing the core values and dyslexic priorities expressed in this odious piece of legislation.

At the time, we warned that fervent bipartisan support for amnesty would not only cripple our welfare system, it would perpetuate a vicious cycle incentivizing new waves of illegal immigrants. We were ridiculed, mocked, and marginalized by the broader GOP party elite.

Fast-forward a year later, and everything our side predicted came to fruition dramatically.  The forces behind open borders in both parties were completely repudiated in spectacular fashion in front of the entire nation.  As we predicted, once the other side of the debate would be properly articulated, the American people would side with us.  Indeed immigration has become the worst issue for President Obama, even factoring in a languishing job market and Obamacare.

Republicans had the opportunity to unite and stand firmly against amnesty while using the power of the purse to end the lawlessness once and for all.  Instead, they completely adopted Obama’s messaging about this being a humanitarian crisis exclusively related to unaccompanied kids.  They adopted his message that this was a crisis requiring immediate funding and changing of statutes related to “Bush era” laws.  They focused on everything except for the original culprit of the border surge, and indeed, they ultimately failed to address their own concerns with the statutes and made current law worse.

Why were they so recalcitrant to deal with Obama’s illegal amnesty, even as Obama promised to grant new waves of amnesty?  Why were they willing to grant Obama new money before he agrees to swear off amnesty?

It’s real simple.  The same forces behind their ill-advised and politically tone-deaf pursuit of amnesty last year are still running the show.  All of the leadership lobbyists, staffers, pollsters, and donors are still inexorably against true enforcement measures and desire more amnesty.  Hence, they were forced to walk a tight-rope in which they pretended to care about the border, but ultimately refused to act against DACA in any consequential way.  They needed to buy off conservative votes, but deep down they are still aligned with the open borders crowd.  Not surprisingly, Becky Tallent, the co-author of the McCain amnesty bill, was allegedly involved in drafting this flawed bill.  Talk about the fox guarding the hen-house.

Sadly, the vacuum of leadership that actually shares our values has created much acrimony among conservatives in the House.  Stymied by efforts to advance conservative proposals, individual members are confronted with tortuous decisions – whether to buck their own party and become marginalized or whether to eat the excrement sandwich and violate their principles.  Some members who choose the latter approach try to convince themselves that they are sincerely making progress moving leadership to their position.

Ultimately, what many members and beltway conservatives fail to see is that this is not a family disagreement over strategy.  The core movers and shakers within the party are completely out of touch with their party base, and frankly, the majority of the country, on this issue.  They have no intention to fight open borders because they are controlled by those very elements who have engendered this problem in the first place.

Amazingly, two of the members of Boehner’s “border task force” were part of the House Gang of 8 last year and are passionate supporters of amnesty.  Most notably, Boehner omitted DACA from his lawsuit against Obama’s lawlessness.

Some of these same members who are feigning outrage and expressing the desire to “do something” about the border were nowhere to be seen when the issue blew up last year. Many of them were on the wrong side of the issue.  Now they refuse to use their first point of leverage to stop Obama’s amnesty and are dismayed that conservatives were not fooled by their distractions and shiny objects.  They have no one to blame but themselves.

Borders: Call Your Representative Now

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Update: this vote has occurred.

See How Your Representative Voted

More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have illegally crossed America’s southern border this year.  Their presence in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico is putting pressure on Congress to grant the President’s $3.7 billion request for emergency funds.

Heritage Foundation policy analyst David Inserra has broken down the proposals in the House’s immigration working group here, and noted that “the U.S. does not need to throw money at the problem but rather carefully consider the better policies that more effectively enforce the law and contribute to border security.”

>> Call your Representative to share the message that any “border fix” that does not include addressing DACA should be opposed.

If any funding at all is to be allocated, it must be on the condition that the package addresses the root causes of the unlawful immigrant surge.

Rarely is the link between a policy and a problem as clear as with President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the current situation at our southern border. Despite the overwhelming consensus that executive decree has caused the crisis, Congress and the White House are refusing to end DACA.

>> Call your Representative to oppose border spending that doesn’t fix the problem.

The House is now preparing to vote on a bill to authorize $659 million for border and immigration spending. The problem is this spending bill doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. Fortunately, some lawmakers are pushing to include language to stop Obama’s lawless DACA program, but we only have a few hours to make a difference.

See How Your Representative Voted

Top 10 Problems with House Border Bill

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The bill proposed by House Republicans (H.R. 5230), not only fails to address the root causes of the border surge or hold President Obama accountable, it actually weakens current law.  While distracting from Obama’s DACA and promises of amnesty with statutory minutia over the 2008 anti-trafficking law, the House bill actually makes matters worse and voids out the entire purpose of modifying that law:

1)      No Mention of DACA Amnesty: This is not only the cause of the border surge, it is an ongoing threat as Obama openly promises to grant amnesty for 5-6 million more people.  The glaring omission and the fear to even mention it will not go unnoticed by Obama.

2)      Only Addresses UACs: Republicans have completely bought into the messaging from the White House that this crisis is all about unaccompanied children.  Yet, UACs only account for 20% of the recent surge in border crossings.  This bill does nothing to address the catch and release policies of the other 80%.

3)      Does Not End Catch and Release: Although the bill repeals Section 235(a) of the William Wilberforce Trafficking law and places UACs from non-contiguous countries into judicial proceedings, nowhere does it prevent HHS from releasing them into custody of relatives (often illegal immigrants) during the myriad of delays in proceedings subject to the discretion of the judge.  So even though they are selling this bill as a means of expedited removal, as it requires adjudication within 7 days and a decision within 72 hours thereafter, that is only relevant to those who bother to attend or show up to subsequent hearings.   Without ending catch and release, almost none of the UACs will ever appear before a court.

4)      Does Not Close Asylum Loophole: Even those few who appear before the court and are ruled inadmissible to the U.S. can have a chance to apply for asylum with a claim of “credible fear.” [page 21]  As we already know, there is an unlimited supply of pro bono immigration attorneys who will coach them to claim persecution.  A whopping 92% of credible fear applicants have been approved in recent years.  Once their claim is accepted, they will be sent back to HHS and likely released into custody of relatives.  This bill actually insults our intelligence and addresses the asylum loophole in Section 106….only for drug smugglers!  Everyone else is explicitly granted the opportunity to seek asylum.

5)      Makes UAC Crisis Worse with De Facto Amnesty: Section 103 [page 27] of this bill mimics the provision in Senator Cornyn’s bill, which actually makes it easier for recent arrivals to thwart deportation than under current law.  It allows all those who received a Notice to Appear since January 2013 to get a second bite at the apple.  Their notice will be expunged and they will have another chance to apply for admission, even if they ignored previous orders to appear.  The immigration judge will then have sole discretion to grant amnesty as long as “the granting of such motion would not be manifestly unjust.” [Section 103(c)(3)]

6)      Actually liberalizes law on Mexican UACs: Changing the 2008 Wilberforce law and equalizing treatment of UACs from Mexico with those from Central America is a double-edged sword.  While making the laws governing those from Central America stricter (although other provisions will void that out, as noted above), this bill will liberalize the laws governing Mexican UACs.  Under current law, they can be returned to Mexico immediately [8 U.S.C. §1232(a)(2)(A)].  The House bill will place them into the same judicial process as other UACs, granting them the opportunity to be released and/or to apply for asylum.

7)      Keeps HHS Throughout Entire Process: One of the purposes of repealing the Wilberforce law governing UACs from Central America was so that we can prevent HHS from helping integrate them into the country.  This bill keeps them in the custody of HHS throughout the entire judicial process and never mandates “detention” in a legal sense.

8)      No Mission for National Guard: While the bill appropriates funds for any usage of the National Guard at or near the border, it never explicitly calls for activating the military, nor does it mandate how Obama uses the soldiers.  Barring specific directions, Obama can and will use them for his purposes.

9)      Transferring UACs to Military Bases: Instead of barring the use of military bases to house the UACs, Section 302 of the bill merely expresses “ the sense of Congress” that the administration notify them before doing so. Ironically, with regards to DACA, the House was too scared to even express their sense that the president should no longer grant administrative amnesties.

10)  No Fence: Any discussion of dealing with the border crisis without mandating completion of the Secure Fence Act – the only proven method – is worthless.

The GOP Ineptitude against Obama’s Amnesty

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Not only is this president akin to an arsonist who comes onto the scene of the border crisis as the firefighter, he is actually standing there with a blow torch promising to set our sovereignty ablaze like never before.  While we are suffering the consequences of Obama’s open immigration invitation to the world, he is threatening to grant further amnesty to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

To be clear, administrative amnesty is a flagrant violation of federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1225), which requires ICE to place aliens who are not “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted” to the United States into removal proceedings.  Moreover, any effort to grant illegals work permits is incontrovertibly in violation of Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act:

(a) Making employment of unauthorized aliens unlawful

   (1) In general

   It is unlawful for a person or other entity—

(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3) of this section) with respect to such employment, or

(B)

(i) to hire for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section…

Yet, amazingly, despite this unprecedented imperial activity, Speaker John Boehner omitted immigration as an example of Obama violating separation of powers in his op-ed defending his lawsuit against the President.

One would expect Republicans to use their first leverage point to put an immediate end to this lawlessness, especially while Obama is openly promising to double down on administrative amnesty. Yet, not only are Republicans refusing to use current appropriations to rein in this imperialism, they plan to give him new funding without first demanding that he swear off further amnesties.

Folks, this is not just about Republicans as a powerless minority party.  With control of the House, they can easily leverage all funding against administrative amnesty.  They certainly have the power to block new funding.  Yet they are silent.

Does anyone really think this behavior will change when Republican take back the Senate?

Our Plan for Stopping the Man-Made Problem at Southern Border

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We are a country that has successfully fought two world wars and can deploy our military assets anywhere in the world within hours. We are the country that landed human beings on the moon. Yet, the political class would have you believe that we are helpless in stopping an endless flow of illegal immigrants across our border. They would have you believe that we are the ones on defense; that we must accommodate the needs of these people and their robust legal and political support structure lest we face reprisal.

It’s time we turn the tables and reassert control over our own borders, sovereignty, and destiny. This is not a natural disaster; it has been encouraged and facilitated by powerful forces within our country and the countries immediately to the south of us.

Instead of only treating the symptoms of the problem with legislative minutia concerning a human trafficking law–a law that has a mere perfunctory relevance to the border surge–Republicans must lay out a vision to stop the cause of the problem–the lawlessness. The time has come to reverse the climate that has encouraged and incentivized this behavior. Here are the actions that can easily work in changing the climate:

Read more at Breitbart:

The DACA Magnet

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A recent memo from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirms that major “pull factors” for the current crop of illegal entries includes previously “successful migration attempts.” In other words, the President’s blatant refusal to enforce the law has, as anticipated, resulted in the more than 50,000 unlawful immigrants flooding the border.

Prominent among the administration’s lawless decrees is a program initiated in June 2012 known as DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Under this policy, Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are instructed to practice “prosecutorial discretion” towards unlawful minors apprehended in the U.S., granting them de facto amnesty. It is this implied promise by the President that unaccompanied alien minors will not be returned home that has led to the current influx.

Many proponents of DACA have pointed out that, for one reason or another, many of the illegal immigrants now entering would not qualify for “deferred action” status under the President’s policy. This fact, however, neither discourages the immigrants from attempting to cross nor will it prevent the President from granting them DACA amnesty anyway.

The Obama Administration has already exhibited willingness to ignore key qualifications for DACA participation in order to unilaterally grant more unlawful minors legal status.

Congress is now debating how to comply with the President’s emergency funding request to correct a situation that his executive fiats have created. For example, though DACA provisions require applicants to provide “educational information,” officials from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently conceded to Congressional aides that current DACA participants need not adhere to the educational standards when they reapply for consideration this September. As Breitbart explains:

At least 560,000 people to date have been granted temporary amnesty under the DACA program, and federal officials also confirmed that that number is likely to increase as applicants who were not eligible in 2012 because they were not 16 years of age will be this year so long as they meet the other requirements. In addition, DACA recipients cannot “age out.”

Given the loose parameters for application approval, and the Obama Administration’s reckless disregard for immigration enforcement in other areas, it only follows logic that residents of foreign lands will illegally enter the U.S. believing they will not be returned home—since, after all, they won’t.

 

Congress Can’t Ignore DACA

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The influx of unaccompanied minors along the southwest border, mostly entering from Central America, is in large part the result of the Obama Administration’s selective enforcement of immigration law. If congressional action is to be more than a face-saving political gesture, it must address the President’s the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“DACA must go,” explains the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano:

“The president’s 2012 policy for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, regardless of the Oval Office’s intent, sets a precedent that encourages further unlawful migration, particularly among minors. It leaves those in the program mired in uncertainty as to their future status. It resolves nothing, encourages the problem to grow and is a detriment to establishing fair, consistent and sustainable immigration policy. Dumping DACA, on the other hand, would send a strong and unequivocal signal there is no advantage in rushing to the U.S. to shortcut the line and receive legal authorization to remain here.”

Heritage Action’s chief executive officer Michael A. Needham called the President’s supplement spending request “a non-starter because it seeks to address the symptoms, not the cause.”  Needham also urged Congress to act “through the regular appropriations process where priorities can be re-ordered and spending can occur within the established budget caps.”

Heritage’s David Inserra explains DACA can be addressed in precisely that manner:

“Through the normal and currently ongoing appropriations process, Congress should end DHS’s ability to carry out the DACA program. Such action would stop one of the elements that are driving the current surge of unlawful immigrants.”

While various members and working groups continue deliberations, they must all remember DACA is the root of the problem and it is unsustainable to leave it in place.

Republicans Must Avoid Shiny Objects in Immigration Debate

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Republicans in Washington have been stymied by the President’s impertinence towards the rule of law and disrespect for the legislative authority of Congress.  The only tool that Congress can utilize against an imperial presidency is the power of the purse, yet Republicans have been reluctant to engage in such brinkmanship.  But now the President has given Republicans their best point of leverage yet – he is asking for new funding to clean up the immigration mess created by his lawless amnesties.  It’s time Republicans embrace the leverage instead of squandering it.

In June 2011, the Obama administration sent a memo (“Morton Memos”) to DHS law enforcement ostensibly suspending deportations against those illegals who would qualify for the Dream Act – a law the never passed Congress.  This policy, which was eventually formalized into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was fully institutionalized on June 15, 2012.

It’s bad enough for a president to violate even minor laws and serve as his own ad hoc law-making body.  But it is downright dangerous for a president to shred our immigration laws, which are so fundamental to preserving our sovereignty and protecting our national security.  Obama was clearly in violation of federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1225) which requires ICE to place aliens who are not “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted” to the United States into removal proceedings.  In its place, he unilaterally created his own law, yet most Republicans huffed and puffed but did not fight back with the power of the purse.

Fast-forward two years and we are now witnessing the failure of such lawlessness in spectacular fashion. Hundreds of thousands of people from Central America are chomping at the bit to take advantage of the new open borders policy while the going is good.  Now Obama is forced to ask Congress for more money to “clean up” his mess.  It goes without saying that the first demand of all Republicans should be the suspension of DACA and the repeal of Obama other lawless acts – the very impetus for this request for funding.

Yet many Republicans seem content to ignore DACA and focus on shiny objects, some of which actually help Obama with his deceptive messaging.  Senator John Cornyn has introduced a bill that includes vague border security language similar to the Senate Gang of 8 bill. He also proposed changes to the much-hyped 2008 human trafficking law (the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA)), which supposedly requires ICE to hand-over unaccompanied child aliens from non-contiguous countries to HHS instead of deporting them.

Republicans must learn that this law is a complete shiny object.

Not only is the 2008 law not the impetus for causing this wave of illegal immigration, for the most part it is not an impediment to sending them back.  The administration has failed to provide ample data of those already apprehended, but as the Center for Immigration Studies notes, it is unclear how many of the illegals fit the description of an “Unaccompanied Alien Child.”  A large percentage of them are adults, many of the children are accompanied by an adult, and even among those who are unaccompanied many of them have relatives here.

Even among those who are legitimately designated as UACs, only those who have been “severely” trafficked are eligible for the protected status that precludes expedited removal.  As the CIS report notes, there is scant evidence that a large amount of the recent arrivals have been severely trafficked as much as they were consensually smuggled.  Finally, even if the two aforementioned factors apply, the 2008 law exempts “exceptional circumstances.”  It’s hard to imagine waves of tens of thousands of illegals fitting into the spiriting of the original bill and not qualifying as an extraordinary circumstance.  Moreover, as the Heritage Foundation observed, Section 235 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)  explicitly grants the administration the authority to deport anyone who has not been paroled or in the country for two years.

Hence, the 2008 trafficking law is nothing but a distraction tossed out by the White House.  Any attempt by Republicans to make this the main issue will only serve to buttress Obama’s attempt to distract from his man-made crisis.  They should demand a repeal of DACA and the dozens of other lawless acts, as laid out by Senator Sessions.  Not only has Obama made no attempt to restore the laws he’s already abrogated, he has promised to grant administrative amnesty to 5-6 million more illegal aliens.

Now is not the time to focus on shiny objects and distractions.  Now is the time to let Obama know that the days of lawlessness are over.