Obama’s Legacy: Big Government, Bigger Monopolies and support for Illegal Immigration

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 31, 2013

The brightest highlight of Barack Obama’s presidency is that he has been able to keep alive the thought — in the heads of his supporters —  that they are entitled to getting free government handouts. At the same time, he has kept alive the dream of large corporate conglomerates that their monopolies will not be touched, unless it is to make them bigger and stronger. But perhaps Obama’s most important achievement — still to come — is the dream of millions of illegal immigrants who, if made legal, will secure support for his agenda, with or without him on the presidency.

Let’s remember that Obama’s agenda is not his per se. He follows the path shown to him decades ago, which includes bringing radical changes to the United States, namely a massive move to redistribute the wealth. It is precisely on immigration where Obama and his minions from both parties will force the American hand.

President Obama gave his first speech of his second term to defend the need for reform of the U.S. immigration system. Talking from Las Vegas, Obama started the gamble of his second term, that is, the passing of legislation to turn 30 million illegals into green card holders. The U.S. president called on Congress to pass new legislation as soon as possible, pressuring lawmakers as he did during his first four years in the White House. A day later, Obama appeared in two Hispanic television channels, announcing his commitment: “I will invest all I have in the reform,” he said.

“I’m hoping that we can get it and I am sure it won’t take many months,” the president said to Telemundo. “I think it’s something we can achieve this year and I would like it to happen, if possible, in the first half of 2013.”

“The issue here is more political than technical. It is that Republicans and Democrats must agree and send their proposal,” Obama said. The president said during his speech Monday in Las Vegas that he asked Congress to pass reform as soon as possible or otherwise he would present his own plan if there is no progress. With this comment, Obama has once again threatened the power of Congress to make and pass laws by asserting he can come up with legislation all by himself and sign it into law when he wants. He has said the same about issues such as gun control and the debt ceiling.

“I can guarantee that I will invest everything I have, I will not stop talking about it.” Obama then said that a majority of Americans support reform: “I will do everything to ensure that I equate public opinion with the votes in Congress to get a bill that I can sign.”

During his interview with Univision, Obama spoke of the amount of time he would like to spend before legislation is passed. “I do not want to wait six months or a year. Senators are doing their job and we have begun to find where there are differences so we can pay attention,” he said. “Give time to debate, but if it takes more than three months, then it would be a problem,” he threatened once again.

On Monday, a group of eight senators, four Democrats and four Republicans announced a preliminary agreement for reform, in a sign of the interest of both parties to change the system, even if it means opening the door to citizenship for millions of undocumented. In reality, the main goal of any piece of legislation that comes out of Washington in three, six or twelve months will be to give a free path to citizenship to millions of illegals, even before those who have waited in line for years to legally enter the country or obtain their green cards through the traditional application process.

As expected, the proposal that Obama put on the table on Tuesday does not make any adjustments about border security, because his only aim is to guarantee the perpetuation of his agenda, which intends to have 30 new million voters to elect the next puppet president.

“In the next few months we will discuss these issues,” Obama said on Univision. Then he made an astonishing statement: “The basis of the reform should be if a person who has lived in the United States and has done it well with his neighbors, has the opportunity to apply for citizenship.” To Obama it is not relevant whether people entered the country legally or not, or if they stayed in the United States in violation of existing immigration laws.

Another aspect that the legislation doesn’t seem to address is the economic impact that the country will suffer once the American government takes responsibility for supporting services and programs that many of the millions of illegals will surely want to get access to for themselves and their extended families. The cost will certainly not be paid for with taxes, since Obama is focused on making everyone dependent on government bribes.

Obama said he is confident that the new legislation will be ready before the end of 2013. “Yes we can,” he said, reminding viewers of his 2008 campaign slogan.

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Almost Half of Immigrants to the U.S. – legal and illegal – are on welfare

That is the result of big government-sponsored culture of dependency — give it and they will come — and that is why Obama intends to legalize all illegals as soon as possible.

By STEPHEN DINAN| THE WASHINGTON TIMES | AUGUST 8, 2012

Immigrants lag behind native-born Americans on most measures of economic well-being — even those who have been in the U.S. the longest, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, which argues that full assimilation is a more complex task than overcoming language or cultural differences.

The study, which covers all immigrants, legal and illegal, and their U.S.-born children younger than 18, found that immigrants tend to make economic progress by most measures the longer they live in the U.S. but lag well behind native-born Americans on factors such as poverty, health insurance coverage and home ownership.

The study, based on 2010 and 2011 census data, found that 43 percent of immigrants who have been in the U.S. at least 20 years were using welfare benefits, a rate that is nearly twice as high as native-born Americans and nearly 50 percent higher than recent immigrants.

The report was released at a time when both major presidential candidates have backed policies that would make it easier to immigrate legally and would boost the numbers of people coming to the U.S.

Steven A. Camarota, the center’s research director and author of the 96-page study, said it shows that questions about the pros and cons of immigration extend well beyond the sheer numbers and touch on the broader consequences of assimilating a population defined by tougher socioeconomic challenges.

“Look, we know a lot of these folks are going to be poor, we get it. But don’t tell the public it’s all going great, which is the story line I think a lot of people want to sell,” Mr. Camarota said. “There is progress over time. Every measure shows improvement over time, but still, the situation does not look like we’d like it to look, particularly for the less-educated. They lag well behind natives even when they’ve been here for two decades, and that is very disconcerting.”

Federal law requires that the government deny immigrant visas to potential immigrants who are likely to be unable to support themselves and thereby become public charges.

Read Full Article →

Illegal Immigrants’ Free Ride to Legalization Closer than Ever

California probes the idea of state-wide amnesty.

Arizone Daily Star
December 3, 2011

Nearly 1 million undocumented immigrants could live and work openly in California with little or no fear of deportation under an initiative unveiled Friday by a state legislator and others.

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, a Democrat, is helping spearhead the measure, called the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act.

The proposal was filed Friday with the state Attorney General’s Office, marking a first step toward a drive to collect the 504,760 voter signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

Fuentes called the measure a “moderate, common-sense approach” necessitated by the federal government’s inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“I hope this shows Washington, D.C., that if they fail to act, California will take the lead on this critical issue,” Fuentes said in a written statement.

Supporters say the initiative could generate up to $325 million in new tax revenue from undocumented workers that could assist education, public safety and other state programs.

Regardless whether Californians would support such a measure, implementation would depend upon the federal government agreeing not to prosecute participants.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican, blasted the proposal as an attempt to sidestep immigration law. He predicted that it wouldn’t have a “snowball’s chance in hell” of winning voter approval.

“There’s a proper process for coming to this country,” Donnelly said. “Why don’t you respect that?”

The proposed initiative would apply to illegal immigrants who have lived in California for four years, have no felony convictions, are not suspected terrorists, pay a fee to administer the program, and can speak English or are learning it.

U.S., Europe to keep data on travelers for 15 years

Guardian
May 25, 2011

The personal data of millions of passengers who fly between the US and Europe, including credit card details, phone numbers and home addresses, may be stored by the US department of homeland security for 15 years, according to a draft agreement between Washington and Brussels leaked to the Guardian.

The “restricted” draft, which emerged from negotiations between the US and EU, opens the way for passenger data provided to airlines on check-in to be analysed by US automated data-mining and profiling programmes in the name of fighting terrorism, crime and illegal migration. The Americans want to require airlines to supply passenger lists as near complete as possible 96 hours before takeoff, so names can be checked against terrorist and immigration watchlists.

The agreement acknowledges that there will be occasions when people are delayed or prevented from flying because they are wrongly identified as a threat, and gives them the right to petition for judicial review in the US federal court. It also outlines procedures in the event of anticipated data losses or other unauthorised disclosure. The text includes provisions under which “sensitive personal data” – such as ethnic origin, political opinions, and details of health or sex life – can be used in exceptional circumstances where an individual’s life could be imperilled.

The 15-year retention period is likely to prove highly controversial as it is three times the five years allowed for in the EU’s PNR (passenger name record) regime to cover flights into, out of and within Europe. A period of five and a half years has just been negotiated in a similar agreement with Australia. Germany and France raised concerns this week about the agreement and the unproven necessity for the measure.

Britain has already announced its intention to opt in to the European PNR plan, in which the home secretary, Theresa May, played a key role, and is expected to join the US agreement this summer.

The Home Office minister Damian Green has said: “The power of PNR lies in the fact that by using an automated system and interrogating it intelligently, we are able to sift data quickly and in such a way that it reveals patterns and makes links that would otherwise not be readily apparent.”  Read Full Article…

U.S. FEDS Threaten Sheriff Arpaio for Enforcing Immigration Laws

By Jerry Markon and Stephanie McCrummen

A federal investigation of a controversial Arizona sheriff known for tough immigration enforcement has intensified in recent days, escalating the conflict between the Obama administration and officials in the border state.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County

Justice Department officials in Washington have issued a rare threat to sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio if he does not cooperate with their investigation of whether he discriminates against Hispanics. The civil rights inquiry is one of two that target the man who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” A federal grand jury in Phoenix is examining whether Arpaio has used his power to investigate and intimidate political opponents and whether his office misappropriated government money, sources said.

The standoff comes just weeks after the Justice Department sued Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer (R) because of the state’s new immigration law, heightening tensions over the issue ahead of November’s midterm elections. The renewed debate has focused attention on Arpaio, a former D.C. police officer who runs a 3,800-employee department, and a state at the epicenter of the controversy over the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

(Photos: How the immigration law is being enforced in Benson, Arizona)

Once seen as a quirky figure who has inmates dress in pink underwear and forces them to work on chain gangs, Arpaio has in recent years become a kind of folk hero to those who favor his heavily publicized “crime sweeps,” conducted mostly in Hispanic neighborhoods. But civil rights groups accuse the 78-year-old lawman of racial profiling. And some Maricopa County officials say Arpaio has begun meritless corruption investigations of officials who have criticized his policies or opposed his requests.

Those allegations are at the core of the Justice Department investigations, according to documents, lawyers familiar with the inquiries, and people who have been questioned by FBI agents and the grand jury.

(Arizona: We’re not changing immigration law)

The investigations reflect the tangled politics surrounding the immigration debate. The criminal probe is led by Dennis K. Burke, the U.S. attorney in Phoenix who was a top aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Two of Arpaio’s attorneys, Robert N. Driscoll and Asheesh Agarwal, were officials in the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the George W. Bush administration. They denied that the sheriff, a Republican who has been reelected four times since 1992, has been uncooperative or has engaged in racial profiling, misusing money or targeting political enemies.

“The sheriff’s office is cooperating fully with the grand jury investigation and has complete confidence that the inquiry will clear it of any wrongdoing,” Agarwal said. “The office has always fulfilled its responsibilities truthfully, honorably, and in full compliance with state and federal law.”

Arpaio’s attorneys contend that the investigations are politically motivated, citing a news conference in March at which Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was quoted as saying he expects the inquiries to “produce results.”

“While we have no quarrel with the assistant U.S. attorneys handling the investigation, the attorney general’s comments appear to violate federal regulations, departmental policy and state ethical rules designed to ensure the fairness of criminal investigations,” Agarwal said.

(More: Chat with Sheriff Joe Arpaio)

Brewer and her supporters have also asserted that the Justice Department was politically motivated in its lawsuit over the state law, which authorizes, among other things, police officers to ask about the status of people suspected of being in the country illegally. A federal judge last month stopped the most controversial sections of the legislation from taking effect.

Justice Department officials denied any political considerations, saying the investigations and the lawsuit are based on the facts and the law. They declined to comment on details of the Arpaio inquiries.

The civil rights division’s investigation began in March 2009 and focuses on whether Arpaio’s department engaged in “discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures,” along with allegations that his jail discriminated against Hispanic inmates, according to letters the division sent to Arpaio. A complaint to the Justice Department said that even bilingual jail guards are required to speak to inmates only in English and that the rule could endanger prisoners’ medical care. The jail was also accused of forcing Hispanic visitors to fill out a “citizenship check” form, the letters said.

Lawyers in the division have repeatedly interviewed Phoenix area human rights leaders about Arpaio’s immigration sweeps, and local “cop watch” groups have turned over hours of video footage of the sweeps to investigators.

“Their questions are in regards to racial profiling, questions about what are the practices when people get stopped,” said Salvador Reza, an organizer with the Puente human rights movement who has met with Justice Department lawyers. He said the lawyers have asked about the treatment of inmates in Arpaio’s jail.

In an Aug. 3 letter to Arpaio’s attorneys, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, said the sheriff’s office had declined repeated requests to turn over documents and meet with investigators. Without cooperation by Tuesday, the letter said, the government would file suit “to compel access to the requested documents, facilities and personnel.”

In his Aug. 5 reply, Driscoll accused the Justice Department of “a desperate attempt” to compel cooperation and of “a public relations campaign against Sheriff Arpaio.” He added: “DOJ cannot require the reproduction of millions of pages of documents so DOJ can ‘see what it can find.’ ”

Arpaio’s resistance is highly unusual: Justice Department officials said the threat of such a lawsuit is rare. They added that they plan to meet with the sheriff’s attorneys next week in a last-ditch effort to forestall litigation. If the department files a broader civil lawsuit, it could result in the department terminating the several million dollars in grants to Arpaio’s office each year or in a judge’s order forcing him to change his policies.

On a separate track, the grand jury investigation has been underway since at least January. Lawyers familiar with the inquiry and witnesses said it is focused on allegations that as Arpaio has fought with the county board over his budget and other issues, he and his deputies have retaliated by carrying out at least seven criminal investigations of county officials alleging corruption, fraud and other crimes.

Some legal experts say it could be difficult for such allegations to result in criminal charges. “I don’t know what a charge would be,” said Peter Zeidenberg, a former Justice Department public corruption prosecutor. “We all would agree that being abusive is wrong, but I’m not aware of any federal statute that would fit.”

In one case, Arpaio leveled 40 corruption-related charges against a county supervisor who had spoken out against his policies, all of which a judge dismissed. In another, the sheriff’s allies in the county attorney’s office filed more than 100 criminal counts against another supervisor for improperly filling out required financial disclosure forms. Several days after a judge dismissed most of those, Arpaio’s deputies arrested the supervisor in a parking garage and walked him before TV cameras to jail, announcing more than 100 new charges, which a judge dismissed. (Some of the original charges remain on appeal.)

“They’ll never stop,” said Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson, who was named in one of Arpaio’s investigations. Wilson testified before the grand jury and has spoken to FBI investigators more than a dozen times, as recently as last week. “They don’t care who tells them to stop.”

County Manager David Smith said grand jurors also questioned him about deputies’ trips to conferences and training missions in Las Vegas, Honduras and other destinations, where he said they often stayed at “boutique” hotels. He said prosecutors were focusing on “issues that might involve the crime of extortion over the county budget, misappropriation of funds and abuse of police power.”