In the wake of much backlash against his executive amnesty order, Obama has claimed that he isn’t doing anything different to past presidents, falsely suggesting that Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush all signed similar executive orders.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week in an interview aired Sunday, Obama stated that he has “by a longshot” issued fewer executive actions than most former presidents.
“If you ask historians, take a look at the track records of the modern presidency, I’ve actually been very restrained. And I’ve been very restrained with respect to immigration. I bent over backwards and will continue to do everything I can to get Congress to work,” Obama said, adding that criticisms of his immigration order are “a lot of rhetoric.”
Obama echoed comments made previously by White House officials, advisors, and left leaning talking heads claiming that past presidents used executive actions to provide amnesty to non citizens illegally residing in the US.
The claims include suggestions that in 1987 Reagan allowed legalization for three million immigrants without working with Congress, and that the first Bush paved the way for a further 1.5 million to gain legal status three years later with an executive order in 1990.
However, as David Frum noted in The Atlantic last week, the actions taken by Reagan and Bush can hardly be compared to the one Obama announced Friday.
“Reagan and Bush acted in conjunction with Congress and in furtherance of a congressional purpose.” Frum writes. “In 1986, Congress passed a full-blown amnesty, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, conferring residency rights on some 3 million people.”
In other words, Ronald Reagan signed a statute that had already been debated and passed by Congress, where as Obama is set to write and enact a law by himself.
Frum also notes that “Reagan and Bush legalized much smaller numbers of people.”
Only about 50,000 people ultimately gained legal status this way, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data as reviewed and re-reviewed by Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Given that Obama intends for some 5 million to gain legal status, it is misleading at best to compare the latest amnesty order to the actions of previous presidents.
Frum also notes that the previous amnesties did not work and were “riddled with fraud” and led to an increase in illegal immigration.
“The argument that ‘Reagan and Bush did it,’ is essentially an argument that future generations should not learn from the errors of previous generations.” Frum concludes, adding that “With the advantage of experience, it is clear that their decisions did not produce the desired result, and actually greatly worsened the problem they sought to solve. Let’s not repeat their mistake.”
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.