We have been discussing the extraordinary and public decision of President Barack Obama to withhold any information on his promised changes in immigration until after the election. While immigration remains one of the most important issues of this election, Obama officials have admitted to preparing for the changes while refusing to give any details or even summaries of what is being planned, as we discussed again yesterday. There has been surprisingly little hard reporting on the decision to withhold this information from voters until after they have voted. However, yesterday White House CBS reporter Major Garrett broke from the mainstream pack and pressed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on a report that the Administration has order material for a “surge” of immigration IDs of up to 9 million in one year. Ernest called the questions “crazy” and encouraged everyone not to speculate . . . before the election obviously.
The Administration has ordered materials to print green cards and employment permits consistent with Obama’s controversial “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program. The order would reportedly allow for the printing of 4 million such IDs per year and allow for a capacity to handle a “surge” for 9 million IDs in 2016. The document specifically refers to a “surge” and the need for the contractor to be ready to fill such an order.
This is the latest such report of preparations for a massive unilateral action by the President that the Administration is steadfastly refusing to confirm until after the election (but before the New Year).
Garrett however faced the same stonewalling. Ernest dismissed the question as “relatively clever way” of trying to get the Administration to confirm its plans before the election. He insisted that this was little more than the ordering of some paper. However, Garrett responded “Don’t be absurd with us! That’s not just an ordinary piece of paper it’s central to what the president has promised in public to do … is that coincidental or is it unrelated?” It was the type of question that has been missing in the White House press for years on such controversies.
Ernest responded by saying that “You would have to ask the DHS about orders of green colored papers that they’ve ordered” and added that all of the questions about the plans after the election (in a matter of weeks) are “crazy.” If the Bush Administration had taken such a position, the press corp would have burned the press room to the ground. However, it was left to Garrett to press the point.
The dismissal of the order is just “green paper” misses the “surge” provision and this little added detail of the “green paper” order. It mush be “100% polycarbonate solid body card stock with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and holographic images embedded within the card construction substrate layers, card design service, and storage.” Not exactly photo copier stock.
Putting aside the order and Earnest’s “caution” not to try to guess the post-election plans of the President, there remains the much more important issue. Forget about the paper. Forget about the other reported planning by the Administration. There remains the fact that this Administration is openly withholding any information in its plans for unilateral presidential action despite the President’s pledge to take action after the election and before the New Year — only a matter of weeks. It is a cynical decision to prevent voters from being fully informed of the plans in a major policy area. Regardless of how one feels about immigration policies, it should be condemned by people across the political spectrum.
More importantly, the media has to show some independence from the White House in this and other stories. Garrett is one of the few such reporters to press the point. His extraordinary exchange however was not covered by the mainstream press and, once again, the stonewalling on the issue was again dropped. I expect given the record of the White House corp, such questioning from Garrett does seem “crazy.” After all, disclosure of such plans might harm the White House in the upcoming election and only a “crazy” reporter would pursue such a story.
Here is the video of the conference and article.