On Immigration Amnesty, Supreme Court Should Side with Workers

The Supreme Court just announced that, by late June, it will rule whether President Obama’s 2014 executive order offering de facto amnesty to over 4 million illegal aliens is constitutional.

Twenty-six states have filed a lawsuit against the administration, claiming that the executive order — which grants illegal aliens work permits and access to some state-funded benefits — amounts to an unconstitutional re-writing of immigration law. Lower courts have ruled in favor of the states.

Upholding the lower courts’ ruling is a constitutional and economic imperative.

Obama administration lawyers have argued that the order is lawful, saying it simply clarifies to executive branch law enforcement agencies that illegal aliens whose children are U.S. citizens should be considered low-priorities for deportation.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with that explanation. The judges concluded that the order doesn’t actually grant law enforcement discretion over whether to deport such illegal aliens — it orders them not to. In other words, the president unlawfully bent the Immigration and Naturalization Act past its breaking point by reclassifying “millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present.”

The Fifth Circuit Court also determined that amnesty would pose a fiscal burden on states, since it would make illegal aliens “newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization.”

In addition to being an unconstitutional overreach of executive power, granting amnesty to more than 4 million illegal aliens would deliver a crippling blow to American workers.

Despite a slowly recovering economy, many Americans can’t find jobs. In December, the unemployment rate remained at 5 percent for the third month in a row, leaving nearly 6.3 million native-born Americans jobless.

America’s youth in particular suffer from what Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders describes as “dangerously high” levels of unemployment. Adding more than 4 million illegal aliens to the workforce would only further hurt young Americans’ employment prospects.

That’s because many of these immigrant workers are low-skilled. And low-skilled immigrant workers have a “considerably more negative effect” on employment for native-born youth than for adults, according to a recent study in the Journal of Labor Economics.

Deporting illegal aliens, in accordance with federal immigration laws, would open up positions for unemployed Americans. It would also boost wages by reducing cut-throat competition for jobs and enabling workers to win higher pay. A study done by Harvard economist George Borjas found that for every 10 percent increase in the size of a labor market due to immigration, wages plummet by more than 7 percent.

American workers — both young and old — need an economic victory. And the Supreme Court can give it to them, so long as it rules President Obama’s executive order unconstitutional.

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