What a boring year 2014 has been for America’s 54 million Hispanics. Three elements, however, did make an otherwise boring year somewhat interesting.
The year started with 8.8 percent of Hispanics (16 and over) unemployed. The year ended (November) with 8.6 percent unemployed.
Black/Asian statistics: Black unemployment for those 16 and older on January 1, 2014 was 14.2 percent, 11.9 percent in November; Asian was 5.6 percent, 5.3 percent in November.
Employment was flat, thus the Obama Administration gets a flunking grade from Hispanics for failing to produce enough jobs. There is, however, one tiny Hispanic employment plus. In the November 2014 federal Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report we find this nugget: Hispanic labor participation (The percentage of Hispanics working of the total number of work-eligible Hispanics) was 66.2, compared to Blacks (60.5) and Asian (64.3). That is a positive.
After six years of Obama’s dissembling, broken promises and coldly waiting until after the November midterm election, President Obama unveiled an end-around-Congress absolution of illegally present people. He would legalize up to 5 million illegally present people by deferring deportations and issuing work permits. Legal?
Videos show President Obama declaring over 20 times that he did not have the power to legalize illegally present people. He so stated whenever people heckled him or in Town Halls when the “amnesty” question was asked or to interviewers such as Jorge Ramos of Univision.
The Constitution is crystal clear that immigration is the exclusive province of the United States Congress in Article 1, Section 8. It does not mention the President or Obama’s “prosecutorial discretion.” That is the legal foundation “Constitutional” lawyer Obama claims as support his program.
Even before Obama formalized his Executive Order, 23 states have filed suit against his proposed program. Worse, the all-Republican controlled Congress will take office the first week of January. It will embark on an attack on Obama’s extra-legal immigration efforts by:
One, it could send him a February appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration) that denies funds to pay Schedule C employees all of whom are Democrat political appointees; or,
Two, it may simply lower over-all payroll dollars resulting in a massive layoff of the country’s largest government department, or,
Three, it might deny any expenditure by Homeland to process applications for the Obama “program.” The loss of thousands of political appointees will not endear President Obama to Democrats that live and breathe political patronage.
To permanently counter Obama’s immigration Executive Order, Congress could (a) pass individual bills that would order and pay for more wall building on the border where needed; (b) Supplement more science, math and engineering (STEM) work permits; (c) allow hospitality, medical and agriculture workers to be hired by American employers who would apply for new work permits cleared by a new E-verify system developed by Google, Amazon or the credit card companies that perform billions of credit, money and other transactions-a-day.
With 80 or more percent of illegal border crossers violating law for work, the work permits will eliminate most illegal border crossings by allowing the same people to work legally.
The results: an override of a probable unconstitutional move by the President, some border wall building and a crushing blow by “work permit” to the numbers of people crossing illegally. They become legal.
Then, the Border Patrol and immigration officers can chase criminals and smugglers, not busboys. 40,000 such agents could easily hunt down and bust the few new border violators for criminal activity and drug smuggling.
Lastly, there is politics. That 71 percent of Hispanics that voted for Obama and his fraudulent promises have wised up. Obama’s popularity has plunged (to 54 percent) among Hispanics. That plunge is more than any other demographic group. Yes, it rose some with his legalization announcement. That increase, however, was not manifested in the November election. Hispanics, other than Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, increased their votes for Republicans.
Three states in particular experienced a Hispanic shift to Republicans: North Carolina where enough Hispanics voted against Democrat Senator Kay Hagan in a squeaker to elect a Republican; Florida, where Governor Rick Scott (60,000 vote win) stomped Democrat Charlie Crist among Miami Cuban voters (65 to 30 percent), 15 points higher than his statewide win percentage. In Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner received enough Hispanic votes in over 20 heavily Hispanic districts to retire Mark Udall from the Senate.
In Nevada and New Mexico, carried by Obama in 2012, Nevadans re-elected Republican Mexican American Governor Brian Sandoval with 70 percent of the vote and a time zone away re-elected fellow Republican Mexican American Susana Martinez governor with almost 60 percent of the vote.
In 2016, if the GOP carries these former Obama states and only one Midwestern state that Obama carried in 2012 (Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa or Ohio), the new President will be a Republican.
The prospect that either Governor Brian Sandoval or Governor Susana Martinez might be on the Presidential ticket gives Hispanics much to look forward to in 2016.
Hispanics had a bad 2014 employment year. They made some progress, maybe, on immigration but politically, it was a banner year for political maturity.
Contreras formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times