White House Immigration Chief Tried to Undermine Enforcement in '86 Amnesty

By Jon Feere, May 9, 2013

History shows us that for the most part, advocates of "comprehensive" immigration bills are only after the legalization portion and will do everything in their power to undermine the enforcement provisions as soon as the bill becomes law. A report published only a few years after passage of the 1986's Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) proves this. The amnesty had only started to roll out, and yet the National Council of La Raza produced a report calling for an end to workplace enforcement – the central enforcement provision of IRCA.

The author of the La Raza report was Cecilia Munoz, currently the Obama administration's chief immigration advisor. (Munoz was recently profiled in the New York Times.)

Cecilia Munoz (left) Pictured
with DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano (right)

In the report, "Unfinished Business: The Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986" Munoz (then, a Senior Policy Analyst for La Raza) wrote that "Congress should repeal employer sanctions" and that Congress has a "moral obligation" to do so. She argued that workplace enforcement is "uneven and inconsistent" and "inherently discriminatory". The full La Raza report is available here.

Interestingly, in her report Munoz admits that mass legalization programs lead to increases in illegal immigration. She wrote:

"[The National Council of La Raza] estimates that the size of the undocumented population today [1990], perhaps three to four million persons, equals that of the early 1980s, when the debate over IRCA took place. ... In the wake of this 'one-time only' program, the nation appears to be left with at least as many undocumented people as when it first considered these proposals."

Munoz called for yet another amnesty in this report – only four years after IRCA – to legalize the newly arrived illegal aliens. The Schumer-Rubio proposal is reportedly already encouraging illegal immigration, despite the fact that the bill would not offer amnesty to aliens arriving after December 31, 2011. It is likely that this new wave of illegal immigration will result in calls for additional amnesties in the future.

According to the Washington Post, at a recent meeting with La Raza staffers and other amnesty activists President Obama promised that if the bill became law, he would "revisit" enforcement provisions that he and the activists oppose. In other words, the White House will find ways to narrow the scope of the enforcement provisions administratively, just like it has for existing immigration law. No one in the media has asked Obama or Munoz to clarify which provisions in the bill they find problematic and plan to weaken and/or ignore. But if Munoz's past conduct is any guide, it is likely that the bill's workplace enforcement provisions would be put on the back burner the moment it is signed into law.

It is also difficult to imagine Munoz being an advocate of any provisions added to the Schumer-Rubio bill aimed at reducing terrorism, provisions that would necessarily tighten immigration standards. Right after the 9/11 attacks, Munoz claimed, "There's no relationship between immigration and terrorism. People who don't like immigration like to suggest there's a connection." It is likely that the White House and Munoz are in denial that the Boston marathon attack has a relationship to immigration, despite the fact that it was perpetrated by immigrants who immigrated through our immigration system.

Munoz's past also offers no evidence of support for serious border security. When describing the Obama administration's immigration enforcement prioritization scheme, Munoz recently likened entering the United States illegally to "jaywalking."

The Obama administration's track record on immigration coupled with an apparent lack of support for critical provisions in the Schumer-Rubio bill necessitates that legalization is conditioned on all enforcement provisions being up and running and fully litigated. Only until after E-Verify is in place, the border secured, and an Exit system fully functioning should the discussion on what to do with 11 million illegal immigrants begin.