The White House correspondents’ dinner might have been two weeks ago, but President Barack Obama continued his comedy routine yesterday in El Paso, Texas, only this time Donald Trump wasn’t the butt of the jokes. Instead, during a speech on immigration, the president mocked Republicans at large, the rule of law, and any American who takes the defense of our nation seriously.
Respectfully, Mr. President, illegal immigration and border security are no laughing matter.
But to the president, they apparently are, especially when it provides fodder for a purely political speech, delivered amid a round of campaign fundraisers in the Lone Star State. After claiming that his administration has “gone above and beyond” Republicans’ calls for immigration reform (which he hasn’t), Obama launched into an all-out assault on the GOP:
We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I gotta say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.
You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”
And if that weren’t enough to prove just how political the speech was, the White House went so far as to include catcalls from the audience on the official transcript from the speech, including, “We love you!,” “Tear it down!,” “They’re racist!,” 53 mentions of the audience’s applause and nine mentions of laughter. We get it, Mr. President — you played to your crowd quite well.
This isn’t a question of racism, the goal posts haven’t moved, and a moat is not what’s needed. In case the president hasn’t noticed, the 1,896-mile Rio Grande, arid deserts, treacherous mountain ranges, Border Patrol and hundreds of miles of fence haven’t been enough. And though the president claimed, “The fence is now basically complete,” a February 2011 GAO report shows that Border Patrol does not have control of the border.
Maybe, amid all the applause, the president hasn’t noticed that millions of illegal immigrants now live in the United States, and our laws aren’t being enforced. And when Arizona attempted to enforce the law since the federal government would not, the Obama Justice Department sued to stop it.
Rather than offer effective solutions to the illegal immigration problem, Obama’s response was to ridicule those seeking to enforce the law and offer amnesty for others to curry their political favor. He even dredged up the DREAM Act, a mini-amnesty in sheep’s clothing, which fell flat on its face in Congress. That’s par for the course with this president, who continues to place politics before policy as a matter of routine. The Heritage Foundation’s Jena McNeill explains:
An amnesty would cost taxpayers millions, if not billions of dollars—at a time where debt is at its ceiling and budgets are busted. It would also reward those who broke the law and came to the U.S. illegally over those who came to the U.S. the legal way.
Solving the problem, though, isn’t the president’s goal. Cynically winning Hispanic votes is his end game. Heritage’s Israel Ortega writes:
It’s obvious that political calculations are driving the President’s push for immigration reform in light of his all-time-low support among Hispanics. President Obama’s advisors remain convinced that immigration reform will guarantee their support, despite polling that indicates that unemployment and education are issues that keep most Hispanics up at night.
Unfortunately President Obama continues to believe that Hispanics are single-issue voters who will reward him for his stump speeches on immigration.
America faces a real illegal immigration problem. It also faces an unemployment problem, a spending problem, an entitlements problem and a national security problem.
On immigration, the right solution is making a real commitment to border security, workplace and immigration enforcement, a temporary worker program and visa reforms to get employers the employees they need. On all of the above, the solution starts with a president who is willing to lead and get down to business — but not the business of taking cheap shots to score points in the political arena.