I do not follow the immigration debate closely, so I do not have a well-informed opinion about the amnesty President Obama just declared for 5 million illegal immigrants, who are in this country in defiance of its laws. But I am gobsmacked that this or any other president would issue an executive order on something as massive as this, without having Congress behind him. It really is outrageous — and the Democrats are going to reap the whirlwind.
President Obama’s executive order eliminating the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants is good policy. It is the right thing to do. But it is a dangerous move for the Democratic Party.
Yes, immigration is an important issue for most Latinos and Asian-Americans. And yes, 63 percent of Latinos and 66 percent of Asian- Americans voted for Democratic candidates for Congress in the midterms. The executive order could solidify and expand that support for years to come.
But Latinos and Asian-Americans made up only 11 percent of the electorate. Even if immigration were the only issue driving their vote — and it most certainly was not — it could have shifted the national partisan balance of power by only a few percentage points.
Whites, meanwhile, accounted for 75 percent of the electorate. Far more than any other group, whites will decide the fate of the parties in the years to come. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, the data suggest that immigration very much matters for whites.
Immigrants are moving to almost every corner of the nation. They usually look different from the white majority. And, irrespective of the facts, the dominant narrative maintains that immigrants rely heavily on public services like welfare, education and health care, that immigrants take jobs from native-born workers and lower their wages, and that immigration is leading to cultural decline.
Polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of white Americans view illegal immigration as a serious problem. A third think immigration over all is bad for the country.
Even if you favor the policy Obama is imposing, you had better think long and hard about the meaning of this move by a president. As Ross Douthat said on Sunday:
No defender of Obama’s proposed move has successfully explained why it wouldn’t be a model for a future president interested in unilateral rewrites of other areas of public policy (the tax code, for instance) where sweeping applications of “discretion” could achieve partisan victories by fiat. No liberal has persuasively explained how, after spending the last Republican administration complaining about presidential “signing statements,” it makes sense for the left to begin applying Cheneyite theories of executive power on domestic policy debates.
Especially debates in which the executive branch is effectively acting in direct defiance of the electoral process. This is where the administration has entered extraordinarily brazen territory, since part of its original case for taking these steps was that they supposedly serve the public will, which only yahoos and congressional Republicans oppose.
This argument was specious before; now it looks ridiculous.
Lo, this didn’t take long. Look at this now airing on Louisiana airwaves:
To be clear, linking to that ad does not imply TAC’s endorsement of a candidate. We do not endorse candidates. I’m linking to it to show you how the GOP Senate candidate is pouncing on the Obama amnesty to pound his Democratic opponent. Landrieu didn’t have much of a chance before, but the only question raised by the Obama amnesty is whether or not he’ll break 60 percent on election day. Well, this question too: is this ad a preview of the GOP’s 2016 strategy?