President Obama’s off-the-record generalized remarks released this week pledging immigration reform during a second term raise questions about how such a lofty goal will be accomplished if Obama gets another four years.
Obama did not go into detail when he made the pledge in an interview with the Des Moines Register that the White House originally insisted remain off the record.
“The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt,” Obama said.
“Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon.”
Last week, the Obama campaign released a 20-page, picture- and graph-filled brochure about its second-term agenda. The booklet, however, did not detail any plans for immigration reform.
According to Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, authors of the New York Times bestselling book “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed,” progressive organizations behind White House policy have already crafted specific, second-term plans for Obama to issue executive amnesty to millions more illegal aliens living inside the U.S.
There are also designs to remove the caps on H-1B visas and green cards, a move that would bring in an untold number of new immigrants, the authors say.
Other second-term plans, Klein and Elliott document, include a program for government agencies to immediately register as voters the new Americans who would receive amnesty.
The second-term amnesty plans come in the form of interagency directives, legislative attempts and a series of executive orders similar to Obama’s June 2012 order to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.
One section of “Fool Me Twice” documents how key progressive groups, including the Center for American Progress, helped to craft the dictates placed in the 645-page “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009.”
The act, introduced Dec. 15, 2009, by Reps. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., with 91 original co-sponsors, has yet to pass.
The bill’s provisions, however, form the generalized basis for the progressive organizations’ specific policy reports and recommendations on how Obama should approach the issue of amnesty, including during a second term. These same organizations were instrumental in helping to craft Obama’s first-term policies on immigration reform, Klein and Elliott show.
Specific amnesty plans documented in “Fool Me Twice” include a call for new restrictions placed on apprehending illegal aliens who are members of a newly defined “vulnerable population.”
The “vulnerable population” definition includes “individuals who provide financial, physical and other direct support to their minor children, parents or other dependents” – in other words, most illegal aliens inside the U.S.
Also grouped into the “vulnerable population” definition are “individuals who have been determined by a medically trained professional to have medical or mental health needs.” The specific mental or health needs are not defined.
Progressive policy reports delivered to the White House, mirrored by directives in the amnesty bill, invent a new class of illegals – those from “community-based” and “faith-based” organizations.
The amnesty plan would make it illegal to apprehend “undocumented” persons in the “premises or in the immediate vicinity of a childcare provider; a school; a legal-service provider; a federal court or state court proceeding; an administrative proceeding; a funeral home; a cemetery; a college, university, or community services agency; a social service agency; a hospital or emergency care center; a health care clinic; a place of worship; a day care center; a head start center; a school bus stop; a recreation center; a mental health facility; and a community center.”
The plans also prohibit the apprehension of pregnant or disabled illegals.
Unrestricted visas, green cards
Other second-term progressive immigration plans documented in “Fool Me Twice” call for more immigrants to enter the U.S. legally.
The Center for American Progress, called the “idea center” of the Obama White House, highlighted those plans in a January 2012 report, “Immigration for Innovation: How to Attract the World’s Best Talent While Ensuring America Remains the Land of Opportunity for All.”
The center’s recommendations include eliminating the cap on the number of the H-1B visas provided to foreigners.
H-1B is the most widely used high-skilled immigration classification for temporary workers. Currently, the system is regulated by a congressionally established annual cap set at about 85,000 H-1B visas per year.
The CAP report also states the country isn’t giving out enough green cards. Currently, about 140,000 employment-based permanent visas, or “green cards,” are available each year. CAP asks the White House to remove the cap on those highly restricted visas.
The 2009 amnesty bill that “Fool Me Twice” shows forms the basis for future legislative and executive policies, makes precisely the same CAP arguments for lifting the cap on visas in a section titled “Visa Reform.”
The bill’s solution, however, is to take the regulation of legal immigration away from Congress and vest it in an agency within the executive branch. The so-called Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets would establish “employment-based immigration policies that promote America’s economic growth and competitiveness while minimizing job displacement, wage depression and unauthorized employment in the United States.”
The executive branch, under the plan, would determine the number of new immigrants, as well as the people to whom visas would be issued.
Register new legals as voters
“Fool Me Twice” documents specific, second-term progressive plans for government agencies to immediately register as voters the new Americans who would receive amnesty.
One such plan is outlined in a 32-page report from the progressive think tank Demos, “From Citizenship to Voting: Improving Registration for New Americans.”
Demos, like CAP, has been highly influential in crafting White House policy.
This particular Demos report was authored by Tova Andrea Wang, a senior fellow at both Demos and a group called the Century Foundation, which works closely with the Center for American Progress.
The Demos report calls for the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services, the USCIS, to fully implement a new policy to ensure “new Americans” are provided with a voter registration application at all administrative naturalization ceremonies.
Ultimately, USCIS should be designated as a full voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act so that every newly naturalized American is automatically given the opportunity to register to vote.
The report also calls for state and local elections officials to be proactive in registering new citizens to vote by reaching out to their communities through every possible means.
Klein and Elliott explain how they documented Obama’s second-term blueprint on amnesty.
The president’s first-term signature policies, including the “stimulus,” defense initiatives and Obamacare, were crafted over years by key progressive think tanks and activists, usually first promoted in extensive research and policy papers, the authors document.
Some first-term policies were even recycled and modified from older legislative attempts that had previously been pushed by progressive Democrats, the authors show. Klein and Elliott, for example, documented the way in which progressive legislation and research papers that traced back to 2002 and, in some cases even to the 1990s, eventually made their way into what became Obama’s health care bill.
The Center for American Progress and Demos are two of more than a dozen key progressive groups behind some of Obama’s first term agenda. These same progressive groups and key activists have been hard at work mapping out second-term recommendations for Obama.
CAP is run by John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who was co-chairman of President Obama’s 2008 White House transition team.
Podesta and CAP have had heavy influence on the crafting of White House policy. CAP routinely releases policy reports that are reportedly used in the formulation of Obama administration policy.
A Time magazine article profiled the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”
The article branded the CAP as the “idea factory” of the Obama administration.
Several former Obama administration officials have joined CAP. Donald Berwick, who served as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services until last December, just joined the liberal think tank when he stepped down.
Former EPA Commissioner Carol Browner is a CAP distinguished senior fellow, as is Van Jones, Obama’s former “green” jobs czar who resigned in 2009 after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and implied the Bush administration may have been involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Sen. Tom Daschle, Obama’s first choice as secretary of health and human services, is a CAP alumnus.