Public opinion be damned.
Tomorrow night in a prime time speech, the President will unveil his plan to shield up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation. By expanding the Dreamers program to adults –a move that the President said in 2013 he felt would be unlawful but has now clearly changed his mind about – these immigrants would be given work permits and, for all intents and purposes, welcomed to America lawfully.
It should be noted that immigrants who are granted amnesty will apparently not be eligible for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, just like the Dreamers who were granted legal status in 2012.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t take away from the fact that President Obama is moving ahead on a course that lacks the support of Congress or the American people.
New polling from Rasmussen shows that a majority of voters oppose the President’s unilateral approach to immigration reform. Fifty three percent oppose protecting the five million illegal immigrants in question without Congressional approval. And 55% think that Congress should challenge this action in court, mirroring similar numbers from over the summer.
What’s more, 56% of Americans think that the government isn’t aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants. Polls have shown steady growth in this figure in recent months.
As I discussed this weekend on Political Insiders with Pat Caddell, John Leboutillier and Harris Faulkner this past weekend, there has been a sea change in voter attitudes towards immigration reform. This is not to say that Americans don’t want comprehensive reform down the line, but right now the priority is securing the border.
We can see evidence of this in Oregon where a ballot initiative to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses was struck down by two thirds of voters. This is in a true blue state where the top Democrat officials were reelected easily.