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.

 

Obama Deportation Progam Likely to Be Blocked, Judge Says By Andrew Harris

Obama Deportation Progam Likely to Be Blocked, Judge Says

blog insert Jan 25

By Andrew Harris
April 23, 2013

A court challenge by federal immigration agents seeking to block President Barack Obama’s deferred-deportation initiative will probably succeed, a judge said.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Dallas today put off his own decision on whether to grant the request for a preliminary injunction by 10 U.S. Immigration and Customs agents. He asked both sides to file additional arguments no later than May 6.

Announced by Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last year, the directive gives agents the ability to defer action on people unlawfully in the U.S. if they came to the country under the age of 16, are in school or have obtained a high school diploma, haven’t been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors, and aren’t a threat to public safety or national security.

“The court finds that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings” when the requirements for deportation under a federal statute are met, O’Connor said today in a 38-page decision, referring to the Department of Homeland Security.

Still, the judge said he can’t decide the case based on the arguments he’s heard so far.

“Accordingly, the court hereby defers ruling on the plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction until the parties have submitted additional briefing,” O’Connor said.

Border Security

The administration’s “Deferred Action” initiative, announced in June, was created with the intent of shifting immigration agency focus toward border security and the removal of dangerous people.

“This is not amnesty, this is not immunity,” Obama said at the time. “This is not a path to citizenship, it’s not a permanent fix.” Deferral, if conferred, is valid for two years, during which the person may obtain authorization for employment, and can be renewed, according to the ICE website.

The case was filed by attorney Kris Kobach, who also serves as Kansas Secretary of State and is a national Republican Party adviser. Lead plaintiff Christopher L. Crane is president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a 7,600- member federal immigration agents’ union.

“Officers are applying the directive to people detained in jails, not kids in school,” Crane testified at the April 8 hearing. “It is now the story in the jails for aliens to use to avoid arrest and deportation.”

Adam Kirschner, a lawyer for the Justice Department, told O’Connor at the hearing the case was, in reality, an employment dispute and that the agents can’t demonstrate they’ve been harmed. “These agents do not like the way the agency has prioritized the use of its resources,” he said.

“The executive cannot remove 11 million people,” Kirchner said of the branch of the U.S. government led by Obama. “The executive has authority to exercise its discretion.”

The case is Crane v. Napolitano, 3:12-cv-03247, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in the Chicago federal courthouse at

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

Soldiers from the 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st ...Armored Personnel Carriers in Baghdad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice.  It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  As reported elsewhere, much of this purchase order is for rounds forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers.  Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month.  1.6 billion rounds, therefore, would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years.  In America.

Add to this perplexingly outré purchase of ammo, DHS now is showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation.  As observed by “paramilblogger” Ken Jorgustin last September:

“These MRAP’s ARE BEING SEEN ON U.S. STREETS all across America by verified observers with photos, videos, and descriptions.

“Regardless of the exact number of MRAP’s being delivered to DHS (and evidently some to POLICE via DHS, as has been observed), why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. Let’s protect our men and women. On the streets of America… ?

“Seriously, why would DHS need such a vehicle on our streets?”

Why indeed?  It is utterly inconceivable that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is planning a coup d’etat against President Obama, and the Congress, to install herself as Supreme Ruler of the United States of America.  There, however, are real signs that the Department bureaucrats are running amok.  About 20 years ago this columnist worked, for two years, in the U.S. Department of Energy’s general counsel’s office in its procurement and finance division.  And is wise to the ways.   The answer to “why would DHS need such a vehicle?” almost certainly is this:  it’s a cool toy and these (reportedly) million dollar toys are being recycled, without much of a impact on the DHS budget.  So…why not?

Why, indeed, should the federal government not be deploying armored personnel carriers and stockpiling enough ammo for a 20-year war in the homeland?  Because it’s wrong in every way.  President Obama has an opportunity, now, to live up to some of his rhetoric by helping the federal government set a noble example in a matter very close to his heart (and that of his Progressive base), one not inimical to the Bill of Rights: gun control.  The federal government can (for a nice change)begin practicing what it preaches by controlling itself.

And … remember the … Sequester?  The president is claiming its budget cuts will inconvenience travelers by squeezing essential services provided by the (opulently armed and stylishly uniformed) DHS.  Quality ammunition is not cheap.  (Of course, news reports that DHS is about to spend $50 million on new uniforms suggests a certain cavalier attitude toward government frugality.)

Spending money this way is beyond absurd well into perverse.  According to the AP story a DHS spokesperson justifies this acquisition to “help the government get a low price for a big purchase.” Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center:  “The training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.”

At 15 million rounds (which, in itself, is pretty extraordinary and sounds more like fun target-shooting-at-taxpayer-expense than a sensible training exercise) … that’s a stockpile that would last DHS over a century.  To claim that it’s to “get a low price” for a ridiculously wasteful amount is an argument that could only fool a career civil servant.

Meanwhile, Senator Diane Feinstein, with the support of President Obama, is attempting to ban 100 capacity magazine clips.  Doing a little apples-to-oranges comparison, here, 1.6 billion rounds is … 16 million times more objectionable.

Mr. Obama has a long history of disdain toward gun ownership.  According to Prof. John Lott, in Debacle, a book he co-authored with iconic conservative strategist Grover Norquist,

“When I was first introduced to Obama (when both worked at the University of Chicago LawSchool, where Lott was famous for his analysis of firearms possession), he said, ‘Oh, you’re the gun guy.’

“I responded: ‘Yes, I guess so.’

“’I don’t believe that people should own guns,’ Obama replied.

“I then replied that it might be fun to have lunch and talk about that statement some time.

“He simply grimaced and turned away. …

“Unlike other liberal academics who usually enjoyed discussing opposing ideas, Obama showed disdain.”

Mr. Obama?  Where’s the disdain now?  Cancelling, or at minimum, drastically scaling back — by 90% or even 99%, the DHS order for ammo, and its receipt and deployment of armored personnel carriers, would be a “fourfer.”

  • The federal government would set an example of restraint in the matter of weaponry.
  • It would reduce the deficit without squeezing essential services.
  • It would do both in a way that was palatable to liberals and conservatives, slightly depolarizing America.
  • It would somewhat defuse, by the government making itself less armed-to-the-teeth, the anxiety of those who mistrust the benevolence of the federales.

If Obama doesn’t show any leadership on this matter it’s an opportunity for. Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, to summon Secretary Napolitano over for a little … national conversation. Madame Secretary?  Buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammo and deploying armored personnel carriers runs contrary, in every way, to what  “homeland security” really means.  Discuss.