Immigration Policy Change a Threat to Citizen Job Seekers
by Judy Kent
Washington, DC - Members of the Project 21 black leadership network say the Obama Administration's just-announced radical change in U.S. immigration policy poses a threat to unemployed citizens who are seeking jobs.
The activists also are critical of what they consider the Executive Branch's usurpation of Legislative Branch authority.
"How is it possible that the Obama Administration can see fit to essentially grant immunity and create access to jobs for illegal aliens between the ages of 16 and 30 when unemployment among legal citizens of the same age is sky-high?" asked Project 21 spokesman Kevin Martin. "As a black man living in Washington, D.C., this new policy makes no sense to me when I look around and see so many young people who are legal, want to work and yet remain jobless."
Black teens nationally have a 38.2 percent unemployment rate.
In a memo to the heads of the immigration-related agencies under her authority, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano stated that youth smuggled onto American soil "lacked the intent to violate the law." According the Napolitano decree, the government will "exercise our prosecutorial discretion" by not prosecuting or deporting young illegal aliens between the ages of 16 and 30 who lack criminal records and have pursued at least a high school education. They will also be granted a work permit that is initially good for two years and can be renewed. This action was endorsed by Obama in a Rose Garden announcement.
The Napolitano memo acknowledges that only Congress can confer the rights of citizenship, but ends by saying: "It remains for the executive branch, however, to set forth policy for the exercise of discretion within the framework of the existing law. I have done so here."
Project 21 spokeswoman Stacy Washington retorts: "Janet Napolitano may call what she's doing a policy change, but it would appear to circumvent the law. It mimics the DREAM Act that failed to pass Congress, but now Obama is enacting it through executive fiat. It begs the scrutiny of the motives behind it and is simply wrong."
"This is a poorly considered and divisive exercise in futility," added Washington. "President Obama is creating more work for already backlogged federal law enforcement agents. These agents are acting under the authority of laws pass by our duly-elected representatives in Congress. The Obama Administration's disregard for laws already in place also calls the constitutionality of this new policy into question."