A few thousand murderers, rapists, kidnappers and other violent thugs are on the streets, thanks to Barack Obama for handing out a “get out of jail free card” to aliens in the country illegally, no matter how many felonies he or she may have committed. The Center for Immigration Studies provides proof that, last year, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials “freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings.”
Those 36,000-plus perps weren’t in jail for jaywalking or keeping a library book past its due date. They had accumulated nearly 88,000 convictions for real offenses. These convictions were surely not the “acts of love” Jeb Bush had in mind in his apologia for wholesale illegal immigration. Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, says this “would be considered the worst prison break in American history, except it was sanctioned by the president and perpetrated by our own immigration officials.”
President Obama, who holds a unique view of when a president is required to honor his constitutional oath, told a gathering of state and local law-enforcement officials at the White House that enforcing immigration law “isn’t smart.” Pursuing illegal aliens who are law-abiding, except for having broken the law in crossing the border, “is just not a good use of our resources.”
“It’s not smart,” said the president. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Some Republicans are angry. House Speaker John A. Boehner repeated his contention Monday in San Antonio that Mr. Obama is the chief reason the House hasn’t acted on immigration reform. “We’re at a point where my colleagues don’t trust that the president will implement the law the way we would see it passed,” Mr. Boehner told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “So, I’ve put the ball back in the president’s court. He’s going to have to do something to demonstrate some level of trustworthiness.”
Nonetheless, rumors continue that the House leadership is pushing for a vote on immigration this year, though a spokesman for the speaker insists no action is possible unless and until Mr. Obama takes his duty to enforce the law seriously.
Expecting Mr. Obama to “demonstrate some level of trustworthiness” this late in the game is akin to Charlie Brown expecting Lucy not to yank the football away just before his toe hits it for the kickoff. Lucy, like the president, has rendered her word worthless. It would be a mistake for House Republicans to bring up amnesty, whether in August after the party-primary challenges are over or in a lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections.
Perhaps the release of so many desperadoes will awaken Republicans who dreamily see acquiescence in a Democratic amnesty scheme as the key to winning Hispanic votes in 2016. Mr. Obama’s only goal is collecting new Democratic voters, even if it means ignoring the law.