Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers

Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers

Uses Obamacare fee to advance amnesty plan

President Obama tries to quiet one of three hecklers as he addresses the crowd after meeting with community leaders about the executive actions he is taking to fix the immigration system Tuesday, Nov. 25, in Chicago. (Associated Press)
President Obama tries to quiet one of three hecklers as he addresses the crowd after meeting with community leaders about the executive actions he is taking to fix the immigration system Tuesday, Nov. 25, in Chicago. (Associated Press) more >
– The Washington Times – Updated: 10:33 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Under the president’s new amnesty, businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare.

President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover.


The loophole was confirmed by congressional aides and drew condemnation from those who said it put illegal immigrants ahead of Americans in the job market.

“If it is true that the president’s actions give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire those who came here illegally, he has added insult to injury,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican. “The president’s actions would have just moved those who came here illegally to the front of the line, ahead of unemployed and underemployed Americans.”

A Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that the newly legalized immigrants won’t have access to Obamacare, which opens up the loophole for employers looking to avoid the penalty.

 The Health and Human Services Department, which oversees Obamacare, referred questions to the White House, which didn’t reply to a request for comment.

But Mr. Obama, traveling in Chicago Tuesday to defend his immigration plans, said his moves would boost the economy and vowed they wouldn’t hurt American workers’ wages.

“Immigrants are good for the economy. We keep on hearing that they’re bad, but a report by my Council of Economic Advisers put out last week shows how the actions we’re taking will grow our economy for everybody,” he said.fence

 

This isn’t the first time the Obamacare loophole has popped up on immigration. The overhaul bill that passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote last year created the same situation, granting illegal immigrants a long probationary period where they could legally work but weren’t eligible for public benefits such as Obamacare.

At the time, Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of the bill’s GOP authors, acknowledged the problem and vowed to change it before it became law. Despite passing the Senate, the bill has stalled, with Democratic leaders refusing to send it to the House for further action.

Brian Rogers, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, said Tuesday the solution to the loophole is to get rid of Obamacare’s employer mandate, “which would eliminate the incentive to hire people who are ineligible for Obamacare subsidies.” Mr. Rogers said the Republican majority that takes control of Congress next year should vote on that proposal.

Under Obamacare, businesses with 50 or more employees are supposed to provide insurance coverage to their full-time workers. If they refuse, they are assessed a penalty for every employee who receives subsidies to sign up for coverage on the health exchanges. But because the newly legalized illegal immigrants covered by Mr. Obama’s order can’t sign up for the exchanges or receive subsidies, employers aren’t penalized for hiring them.

Employers take notice

Some employers have already taken notice, and Dennis Michael Lynch, a documentary filmmaker, raised the issue on political strategist Dick Morris’s radio show in Philadelphia over the weekend.

“The dimensions of this problem are enormous. One wonders if any of Obama’s crew spotted it during the run-up to his executive order. It is hard to imagine former President Clinton failing to notice such a conflict between his two major programs,” Mr. Morris said in an op-ed Tuesday in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

The Obama administration has delayed the employer mandate penalty for some businesses, but it is slated to take full effect in a year.

The public is split on Mr. Obama’s latest immigration move. A new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday showed slightly more people opposed the president taking unilateral action than supported him.

 Just as striking, however, is that overall support for illegal immigrants in America is at an all-time low in the Quinnipiac survey, with 35 percent now saying they should all be pushed out of the country — up from 26 percent just a year ago.

Mr. Obama created the Obamacare loophole incentive in a 2012 Homeland Security decision.

Until August of that year, those granted “deferred action” — the power Mr. Obama also used in his new temporary amnesty — were eligible for public benefits, including Obamacare. But just two months earlier, Mr. Obama had announced a massive expansion of deferred action for hundreds of thousands of “dreamers,” or young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and in order to prevent them from getting public benefits, Homeland Security officials issued a new policy giving the dreamers a new category of legal status that left them outside of Obamacare.

Immigrant rights groups protested the move at the time, arguing it left the newly legal dreamers without coverage. The National Immigration Law Center said excluding dreamers from Obamacare amounted to discrimination against tax-paying immigrants who are following the rules, and set up a new second-class status for some immigrants.

The NILC didn’t respond to a request for comment on Mr. Obama’s latest move.

 

We must stop Emperor Obama

Sen. Sessions reacts: We must stop Emperor Obama

Congress must fix the problems President Obama’s executive amnesty plan creates.

Americans defeated President Obama’s disastrous amnesty plans both in Congress and at the voting booth. Tonight, President Obama defied an entire nation and declared that he will impose his rejected amnesty through the brute force of executive order.

President Obama’s executive amnesty will provide an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants with the exact benefits Congress rejected, in violation of federal law. His order will grant them social security numbers, government-issued ID’s, legal status and work permits. Illegal immigrants will now be able to take jobs and benefits directly from struggling Americans in a time of high unemployment and low wages. They will be able to take jobs from Americans in all occupations, ranging from truck drivers to power company workers to jobs with city government. Many illegal immigrants will also be able to obtain green cards and become permanent residents, allowing them access to almost all federal programs, to receive citizenship and sponsor foreign relatives to join them in the U.S.

In addition to providing formal amnesty benefits for 5 million illegal immigrants, President Obama has also eliminated virtually all enforcement with respect to the other nearly 7 million illegal immigrantsin the United States. As the president’s own former ICE Director, John Sandweg said: “if you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”

All you have to do is get into the country from anywhere on globe — whether through the border or by overstaying a visa — and you are free to remain, take jobs and receive benefits. This year alone, the White House has released into the United States more than 100,000 illegal immigrants who simply showed up at the border and demanded entry.

And now, with a single pen stroke, President Obama is obliterating what little remains of Americans’ immigration protections. Not only will millions of low-wage illegal immigrants rush into the labor market, but they will collect billions in taxpayer dollars as well. These costly government benefits range from child tax credits, to public housing to the likelihood that amnestied immigrants will rely on taxpayers for medical and retirement benefits.

Only a short time ago, President Obama himself admitted this action would be illegal and unconstitutional: “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own” he explained, adding “that’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” President Obama also said that: “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

Apparently, America now has its first emperor.

And he has issued an imperial order to dissolve America’s borders. Millions more will enter and demand the same amnesty benefits as those who came before. The entire moral foundation and consistency of our laws will have been eviscerated. Law enforcement officials have repeatedly warned that the president’s new amnesty will unleash a “tidal wave” of illegal immigration. The impact on our jobs, wages, hospitals, schools, police departments and neighborhoods will be crushing.

A second hammer blow will be dealt by the president’s unilateral increase in foreignworker programs for large corporations, including technology corporations. Currently,two-thirds of all new jobs in the IT industry are being filled by foreign workers — and yet the president wants to dramatically surge foreign worker admissions even further. This at a time when the Census Bureau tells us more than 11 million Americanswith science, technology, engineering and math degrees don’t have jobs in those fields.

President Obama is auctioning off America’s middle class to the highest bidders.

Immigration already stands at record levels and is rising quickly. Between 2000 and 2014 — a period during which the government issued nearly 30 million lawful visas to foreign workers and permanent immigrants — all net employment gains among the working-age went to imported labor. Now the president is planning to unilaterally increase immigration even further — all to placate a few billionaire lobbyists and open border extremists.

The great task before the nation now is to resist this imperial decree and return control of this nation to its own citizens — as our Constitution established.

That task begins with Congress refusing to allow a dime of money to be spent executing this unlawful amnesty. This a routine, constitutional and crucial application of congressional power.

If Democrat lawmakers join Republicans in blocking funds for his unlawful plan, the president will be stopped. Americans must ask their representatives this one question: do you serve the citizens of this country and their Constitution — or not?

Sen. Jeff Sessions is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.