- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Before leaving on his 17-day vacation in Hawaii, President Obama declared that one of his top priorities for 2014 will be immigration reform, with amnesty. He knows that congressional Republicans feel pressure to do something to woo Hispanic voters.

Mr. Obama will leverage those political forces for the midterm elections, even though he doesn’t even enforce the existing immigration laws.

Mr. Obama held a rare press conference Friday before hopping on Air Force One for the direct flight to Honolulu. It was in an attempt to buck up his plummeting poll numbers after a year of failures.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform

“Immigration reform, probably the biggest thing that I wanted to get done this year, we saw progress. It passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote,” he asserted.

The president said that House Speaker John A. Boehner made a commitment “to try to move forward legislation early next year,” and that there were merely “a few differences here and there” between the two political parties on the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid piled on the pressure.

“I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate. Why wouldn’t he? He’ll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer,” the Nevada Democrat told The Hill newspaper. “Some of his members are in very marginal districts, where they need to do something on immigration.”

Not so fast. The speaker has said the House will do its own immigration reform in piecemeal form, but not take up the 1,200-page Senate monstrosity. Even then, House conservatives fear that any legislation will result in granting amnesty, while the border with Mexico will never be secured.

Mr. Obama is using his second term to fulfill the promises made to his ultraliberal base to get re-elected. The American voters don’t care about changing the immigration laws as much as pocketbook issues.

A Quinnipiac University poll from Dec. 10 asked what respondents thought should be the most important priority for the president and Congress in 2014.

The top answers were the economy (41 percent), the deficit (22 percent) and health care (14 percent). Only 5 percent said that immigration ought to be the priority. The only issues that ranked lower were taxes (no more!) and gun policy (enough!).

The public has reason to be wary of any policy promises from this White House. The Obama administration has shown it is either unable or unwilling to enforce existing immigration laws. That means there is little deterrent for those crossing our borders.

Last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that it had removed 25 percent fewer immigrants from the interior of the country in 2013 compared with the previous year. Overall, just 1 percent of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens were deported last year.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that the numbers are “more evidence that the Obama administration refuses to enforce our immigration laws.”

The Virginia Republican, whose committee will have jurisdiction of any reforms, added that the president “has sought to undermine and dismantle our immigration laws at every opportunity possible.”

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