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After reading former Sen. Richard Lugar’s NYTimes op-ed on immigration, it isn’t surprising that he isn’t a senator anymore.

The first major tipoff came when he said “whether or not you like President Obama’s actions, he has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement.” It’s stunning that a former senator would make such a foolish straw-man argument. That isn’t the heart of United States v. Texas. The heart of U.S. v. Texas is found on pg. 7 of Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s opinion when he said “One of these memoranda contained an order establishing a new program utilizing deferred action to stay deportation hearings and award certain benefits to four to five million individuals residing illegally in the United States.”

SCOTUSblog talked about the topic of standing in this post, saying “Here is what is at issue regarding state “standing” to sue: to be allowed in federal court under Article III, a state government — like anyone else who seeks to sue in those courts — would have to show that the action being challenged causes it a definite injury or harm. The injury cannot be theoretical or speculative; it must be real, existing right now or predictably.”

That actually shouldn’t be that difficult to prove. It’s inevitable that having “four to five million individuals residing illegally” in Texas or one of the other 25 states that filed the lawsuit would cost individual states financial harm to one degree or another. That harm might come in the form of higher costs for health care programs, education or other benefits that are paid for at the state, county or school district level.

More importantly, though, Judge Hanen stated that one of Jeh Johnson’s memoranda “contained an order establishing a new program” that would “award certain benefits.” That isn’t allowed by Article I of the Constitution. Only the legislative branch is allowed to create new programs. The executive branch executes the programs on the books.

If the justices cared about the Constitution’s authorities, they’d admit that the executive branch has the authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion but that it doesn’t have the authority to create a new program that Congress hasn’t authorized through legislation.

The thought that a senator, especially one that’s been a committee chair, doesn’t understand this is a bit frightening.

I could write a lengthy article filled with multiple attacks that Sen. Rubio hit Mr. Trump with but I won’t do that here. I did that in this article. I could write about Sen. Rubio hitting Trump with a health care haymaker. I won’t do that because that’s what this article is about. (I am tempted, though, because Sen. Rubio hit Trump so hard on Trump’s answer so hard Trump’s great grandkids will be born with a concussion.)

I could provide links to the various articles out there that talk about how Rubio and Cruz tag-teamed Trump, after which Trump whined that he got too many questions from the moderators. (Yes, that really happened.) Instead of doing those things, I’ll just post this picture because it says it all:

That picture shoots Trump’s criticism that Rubio was sweating all to hell:

“It looked like he just came out of a swimming pool. He was soaking wet,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “He’s a meltdown guy. I mean I look at him, he’s just pouring sweat. … We need somebody that doesn’t sweat.”

Trump would be fun to play poker against. He’s got tons of tells. One thing that’s clear after tonight is that he gets rattled when people question his understanding of issues. The minute that Rubio and Cruz ripped on him, he became unhinged. He started making wild accusations. When the camera panned out, Trump’s posture was terrible, what with his jaw jutting out, his nose in the air.

While Rubio and Cruz both had strong nights, Rubio’s performance was the strongest. He taunted Trump and laughed while he watched Trump disintegrate. At one point, Trump looked like a patient who hadn’t taken his medication for a few days.

The important thing for Cruz and Rubio to do is to keep taunting Trump. Questioning his policies clearly got under Mr. Trump’s skin, too. It exposed him as an empty suit, something that hadn’t been done to this extent prior to last night’s debate.

One other thing that I’ll talk about is Trump’s insistence that he’s pro-Israel. Here’s what Trump said and Sen. Rubio’s response:

TRUMP: I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying, “I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage.” But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.
RUBIO: I don’t know if Donald realizes this. I’m sure it’s not his intent perhaps. But the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. And here’s why. Because you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israels. Instead, here’s what the Palestinians do. They teach their four- year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. Here’s what Hamas does. They launch rockets and terrorist attacks again Israel on an ongoing basis. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible.

And so the next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I’m not — I’m not going to sit here and say, “Oh, I’m not on either side.” I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.

Apparently, Trump hasn’t figured it out that the Palestinians are terrorists yet. That’s stunning. Not taking sides between Israel and the Palestinians is taking the terrorists’ side.

Finally, Rubio made this great point:

A couple points, number one, I do think it’s amazing that on this stage tonight there are two descendants of Cuban origin, and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democratic party.

Technorati: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Opposition Research, Donald Trump, Trump Towers, Illegal Immigration, Obamacare, Israel, Republicans, Election 2016

Donald Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate that doesn’t hesitate in laying things on a little too thick. Based on this article, Ted Cruz fits that description, too. Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Cruz sat down for an interview with Jeff Kuhner. Kuhner opened by asking “Is Marco Rubio a genuine conservative?” He asked that after listing Rubio’s support for “open borders,” “NSA spying,” and the Obama administration’s Trans Pacific Partnership during an onstage interview.

Sen. Cruz’s reply was predictable, though a bit dishonest. Cruz said “On each of the issues you just listed, Marco’s views are virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton. Let me say this, if we nominate a candidate who’s pro-amnesty, we’ll lose. It’s not complicated. It’s real simple.”

First, Sen. Cruz’s support for taking tools away from the NSA is disappointing. If Sen. Cruz wants to defend taking away a valuable tool from our intelligence-gathering community, let’s hear him make that part of his stump speech. Sen. Cruz has the opportunity to explain why he thinks it’s wise to seriously limit the NSA’s abilities without hurting people’s civil rights. I’d love to hear Sen. Cruz’s explanation.

Further, Mrs. Clinton doesn’t support TPP. Apparently, Ted won’t let little things like the facts get in the way of an old-fashioned ad hominem attack against one of his chief rivals.

Third, Sen. Cruz isn’t being honest when he says that Marco supports amnesty. Here’s what Sen. Rubio supports:

Marco has consistently advocated fixing America’s immigration system, beginning with securing our border, enforcing immigration laws in the workplace, and implementing effective visa tracking systems.

That sounds a lot like Sen. Cruz’s plan. This does, too:

Starting on Day One of his presidency, Marco will be focused on immigration security.

He will:

  1. Cancel President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders
  2. Eliminate federal funding for sanctuary cities
  3. Deport criminal illegal aliens
  4. Hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents
  5. Finish all 700 miles of walls on our southern border
  6. Implement an entry-exit visa tracking system
  7. Implement a mandatory eVerify system
  8. Install $4 billion in new cameras and sensors on the border

If that doesn’t sound like the Gang of Eight bill, it’s because it isn’t similar to the Gang of Eight bill.

If Sen. Cruz is serious about this, then we’re in trouble:

Cruz pointed to the 2012 election as evidence for his theory and noted the Republican Party got clobbered after nominating Mitt Romney, whose record on healthcare caused headaches for conservatives seeking contrast with Obamacare.

That’s breathtaking. Comparing Mitt Romney with Sen. Rubio is like comparing Tim Scott with Mitch McConnell. Comparing Mitt Romney with Sen. Rubio is like comparing Trey Gowdy with Lindsey Graham. It’s a preposterous comparison. Nobody thought that Mitt Romney was a conservative. No less a conservative’s conservative than Rush Limbaugh called Sen. Rubio “a legitimate, full-throated conservative.”

Listening only to Sen. Cruz, you’d think that Sen. Rubio was an establishment RINO. It isn’t just that the facts don’t support Sen. Cruz’s opinion. It’s that a conservative’s conservative, Rush Limbaugh, rejects this opinion.

This points to a simple question: when will Sen. Cruz stop with the exaggerations?

When President Obama essentially opened the border a couple of years ago, he did it with the intent of forcing Republicans into passing “comprehensive immigration reform.” President Obama’s plan caused tons of chaos, which was his plan. Rather than just watching Texas get overrun with illegal aliens, then-Gov. Perry stepped into the breach. He ended the chaos. He restored order. He earned praise from border security hawks for, first, filling the gap and, second, eliminating the chaos.

Donald Trump was nowhere to be found at the time. Perhaps he was too busy visiting one of his world-class golf courses. Perhaps he was putting together his next real estate deal. Wherever he was, he wasn’t interested in border security.

Recently, Trump has tried selling the image that he’s a border security hawk. He wasn’t one before. Why should we think that he’ll change into one now?

On the other hand, we’ve seen proof that Gov. Perry is a border security hawk. Gov. Perry’s statement this week highlights who’s qualified and who isn’t:

“Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his fundamental misunderstanding of border security. Make no mistake – border security is a federal responsibility, but when I met with President Obama last year and it became clear he would not act, I told him if he would not secure the border, Texas would. Rather than thanking Texas for stepping into a gap it shouldn’t have to fill, Mr. Trump has made clear that he believes the states should fend for themselves on border security. Not only is this wrong, it perpetuates the same failed policies that have left our southern border porous and vulnerable.

I have a message for my fellow Republicans and the independents who will be voting in the primary process: what Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism – a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.

America doesn’t need another president who pays lip service when issues of national security are at stake. America doesn’t need another president who will pass the buck on border security. We need a president who will finally act to secure the border after decades of failed leadership in Washington, D.C. And Mr. Trump has done nothing to prove that he is the president America needs.”

It’s apparent to thoughtful people that Trump isn’t serious. He’s great at talking the talk. He’s terrible at walking the walk. Trump is all talk and no walk.

We don’t need someone that eccentric and that flighty in charge of border security. Trump’s dabbled in politics for years, mostly specializing in crony capitalism. America needs a president who will shut down the border and restore sanity.

That disqualifies Donald Trump.

Judge Andrew Hanen refused to lift his temporary hold on President Obama’s executive action, saying that the DOJ hasn’t “shown any credible reason for why this Directive necessitates immediate implementation.” Here are the arguments both sides are making:

The coalition of states leading the challenge filed its lawsuit to overturn Obama’s executive actions, which would prevent as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally from being deported. The states, led by Texas, argue that the action is unconstitutional and would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education. The injunction is intended to stall Obama’s actions while the lawsuit progresses through the courts.

Justice Department attorneys argue that keeping the temporary hold harms “the interests of the public and of third parties who will be deprived of significant law enforcement and humanitarian benefits of prompt implementation” of the president’s immigration action.

First, it isn’t likely that the Obama administration will win this fight. If I were putting out odds, I’d say the administration’s odds of winning was less than 15%. That’s enough to stop the DOJ’s request dead in its tracks. Second, Judge Hanen’s statement that the DOJ hasn’t “shown any credible reason for why this Directive necessitates immediate implementation” is a rather chilly statement. (Ed Morrissey’s post explains why the relationship between Judge Hanen and the DOJ is frosty.)

Hanen issued his initial injunction believing that neither of those orders had taken effect. About a month later, the Justice Department confirmed that more than 108,000 people had already received three-year reprieves from deportation and work permits, but DOJ attorneys insisted the moves were made under 2012 guidelines that weren’t blocked by the injunction. The DOJ apologized for any confusion, but Hanen seemed unconvinced during a hearing last month and threatened to sanction the attorneys.

He wrote Tuesday that while the federal government had been “misleading” on the subject, he would not immediately apply sanctions against the government, saying to do so would not be “in the interests of justice or in the best interest of this country” because the issue was of national importance and the outcome will affect millions of people.

“The parties’ arguments should be decided on their relative merits according to the law, not clouded by outside allegations that may or may not bear on the ultimate issues in this lawsuit,” Hanen wrote.

I’m not a lawyer but I can’t imagine it’s a good thing for a judge to say that “the federal government had been ‘misleading'” the judge. I’ve got to think that the appellate court won’t be impressed with the DOJ’s actions.

I’d be very surprised if the Supreme Court doesn’t a) hear this case and b) rule against the administration.

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This morning’s biggest political headline is Ted Cruz’s announcement that he’s running for president. Right behind that headline, though, is this Washington Post article:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Jim Ulmer came to see Scott Walker here last week, he was transfixed. “He’s the little engine that could,” Ulmer said, describing the Wisconsin governor who successfully battled labor unions and has rocketed to the front of the Republican presidential race. “He has guts,” said Ulmer, 52, Republican Party chairman in rural Orangeburg County. “The people of America are looking for another Ronald Reagan, someone we can believe in, someone who will keep freedom safe. Walker could be it.”

That’s the basis for the article’s headline. Still, that isn’t what should give the Bush campaign pause. This should:

Those who turned out in droves to size up Walker during two days of events here said his top rival, Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor and heir to a political dynasty, gives them pause. None mentioned Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a tea party favorite who will announce his candidacy Monday at Liberty University in Virginia.

This isn’t a prediction but it wouldn’t surprise me if Jeb Bush flopped. The media love Jeb Bush. They’re love that he isn’t willing to rule of raising taxes. They love the fact that he’s a fierce advocate for federal control of education, aka Common Core. Mostly, though, they love him for supporting the Democrats’ immigration bill.

That puts him out of step with Republicans.

It isn’t that Bush “gives them pause.” It’s that Republican activists don’t trust Jeb. They don’t trust Bush because he represents the loser wing of the Republican Party. There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Jeb Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney. They don’t fight for conservatism. Their chief attribute is that they’re supposedly electable.

Contrast that with Scott Walker:

As they see it, he’s a fighter, tenacious and decisive. He fought the unions again and again, and he won each time. They see the 47-year-old governor as a truth-teller, a pure conservative and an energetic, fresh face, as the future.

“He represents everything I want in a president,” Joan Boyce, 61, a school cafeteria worker, said after seeing him speak at a barbecue dinner in Greenville. “He’s refreshing for a change. He feels honest to me; he really does. He doesn’t talk like a politician. He talks like a regular guy.”

Scott Walker has a substantial list of conservative accomplishments. People appreciate that. They don’t appreciate Gov. Bush’s attempt to sell conservatives down the river on important things like immigration and Common Core.

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This NYTimes op-ed is long on accusations but short on constitutional logic. Here’s an example of that:

Judge Hanen said the costs were the result of the federal government’s “failure to secure the borders,” and he noted the millions of dollars that states spend to educate “each illegal alien child,” even though, as he knows, the Constitution already requires states to provide that education. He danced around the fundamental point, as the Supreme Court reiterated as recently as 2012, that setting immigration policy is the prerogative of the federal government, not the states.

Notice that the NYTimes tip-toed around the fact that Congress writes immigration laws and that a president only signs immigration bills he or she agrees with into law. The NYTimes didn’t take time to define what each branch’s role is in writing and implementing new laws.

That’s the procedure for all laws, not just immigration laws. Presumably, a constitutional law scholar like President Obama knows the drill.

This is typical liberal BS:

However the appellate courts come down on the case, Mr. Obama is finding himself once again dealing with a familiar sort of Republican intransigence. With his humane and realistic immigration policy, he is trying to tackle a huge and long-running national problem: what to do with more than 11 million undocumented people who are living, working and raising families here, when the government cannot possibly apprehend or deport all of them.

This is more proof that President Obama isn’t interested in negotiating with people who don’t reflexively agree with him. Notice that the NYTimes doesn’t criticize President Obama for being intransigent. That criticism is reserved exclusively for Republicans.

Notice that the NYTimes didn’t criticize President Obama for all the times President Obama deployed a my-way-or-the-highway mindset, starting with his meeting with Republicans about his stimulus bill. That’s when Republicans offered a number of improvements to the bill, only to be told by President Obama that “We won.” That’s intransigence personified.

Now Judge Hanen has reminded President Obama that presidents aren’t emperors. President Obama’s reaction to that reminder is to lash out, albeit in a calm tone of voice, that Judge Hanen’s ruling is standing in his way.

The Founding Fathers built the Constitution the way that they did to guarantee that both political branches needed to negotiate with each other. That’s the last thing President Obama wants. President Obama gave an entire series of speeches built around the refrain that “We can’t wait.” Thankfully, the judiciary didn’t let this president do everything he and his Democratic Party allies wanted to do.

Finally, this administration isn’t supposedly lawless. The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against President Obama 13 straight times on issues of executive overreach. That’s proven lawlessness. That isn’t imagined lawlessness.

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Wherever Vin Weber goes, the kiss of death comes with him. This Washington Post article says that Weber has signed onto Jeb Bush’s “all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination”:

Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and top policy adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, is assisting Jeb Bush’s all-but-certain bid for the Republican presidential nomination, adding yet another high-powered strategist to the former Florida governor’s political circle. Weber confirmed his move Tuesday, as did a Bush aide, after several GOP officials said Weber was working behind the scenes to win Bush support among influential donors and conservative intellectuals.

“My message to conservatives has been: this is the conservative Bush,” Weber said in a phone interview. “I remember when his brother first ran, and he was a fine president. But at the time, most conservatives around the country said it’s too bad because Jeb is the real conservative in the family. I’m reminding my friends about those conversations.”

Jeb might be the most conservative of the Bushes. As Florida’s governor, he implemented some genuinely conservative reforms. Since going national, however, Jeb’s taken on a leftist tilt, starting with his support for Common Core, which most movement conservatives consider the ultimate deal-breaker for GOP presidential candidates.

In recent weeks, Weber said he and other Bush allies have been informally meeting with skeptical leaders on the right to talk through Bush’s gubernatorial record, touting his work on “educational choice and taxes and spending.” Their goal is to scrape away the notion that Bush is a political moderate, a notion that has become a barnacle on his potential candidacy.

Vin Weber knows that Jeb Bush’s chances at being the nominee shrink rapidly if he’s tagged with the moderate label. Bush’s stand on Common Core is close to a deal-breaker. Bush’s position on immigration isn’t noticeably different from John McCain’s or Lindsey ‘Gramnesty’ Graham’s position on amnesty. Bush’s statement at a CEO conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal that Republicans have to be willing to “lose the primary to win the general election” turned lots of people off. John McCain threw conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, under the bus in 2008. His defeat was the worst defeat a Republican presidential nominee has suffered since Barry Goldwater’s defeat at the hands of LBJ in 1964.

Jeb Bush’s disastrous statement won’t help his cause. Frankly, it’s a miscalculation. You can’t tell conservatives they’re wrong, then expect them to support you in the general election.

During Romney’s campaigns for the White House in 2008 and 2012, Weber served as a senior policy hand, organizing meetings with think-tank specialists on foreign and domestic issues, and keeping tabs on conservative concerns.

There’s the proof that Weber is the GOP’s kiss of death, the GOP’s equivalent of Bob Shrum or Bob Beckel.

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Bill Jacobson’s op-ed for USA Today highlights in outstanding detail President Obama’s unconstitutional actions. Let’s start with this:

Three areas of the Obama administration going it alone stand out: Immigration, Obamacare and the environment. Immigration is perhaps the most dramatic example.

Legalizing and eventually providing a path to citizenship for the estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants is a top administration priority. But that priority hit a roadblock in the form of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and soon, Senate. Out of frustration, Obama has taken unilateral action to evade the immigration laws.

Prior to 2014, the administration already had imposed non-repatriation policies at the border, and established the “mini-dream” policy, precluding deportation of people who were brought to the country illegally as minors and met certain other criteria. These policies, however, only applied to a relatively small portion of the total illegal immigrant population. So more was needed, and that “more” would not be coming from Congress.

It’s worth highlighting this first because it’s likely to get dealt with first. With the government funded for the year except the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans can play hardball on this issue. All they have to do is attach a rider to funding DHS prohibiting DHS from spending any money on documents that President Obama promised when he took this unconstitutional action.

That’s the short-term fix. The medium-term fix will come when the courts slap down President Obama’s actions in due time. The long-term fix will happen when a Republican president secures the Tex-Mex border, then signs one-piece-at-a-time immigration reform.

It’s worth noting that it’s Congress, not the president who sets immigration policy:

Congress’s legislative powers are enumerated in Section Eight:

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Here’s the heart of Prof. Jacobson’s commentary on the subject:

This immigration end-run creates a class of people who effectively are exempt from the immigration laws, without Congress ever having recognized such an exemption. It is not prosecutorial discretion but a usurpation of legislative power.

The executive branch never is vested with legislative authority. The minute this gets to the courts, they’ll rule against the Obama administration.

Here’s Prof. Jacobson’s excellent closing argument:

The exploitation of environmental regulatory authority not to implement laws, but to create a regulatory equivalent of legislation, is an abuse of executive discretion. At every level, the Obama administration has signaled that going it alone is the only way to get things done.

But that is not how our constitutional system is set up. The Framers understood the threat of an overreaching executive who wants to be king not president.

When President Obama leaves office, the next president will have a lengthy list of things to clean up from President Obama’s assault on the Constitution.

This week’s Onions & Orchids editorial contains a complaint that a well-educated fifth-grader would be ashamed to write:

Onions: I keep hearing the words, that the president poisoned the well. You can’t poison a well if there is no water. The president has waited 515 days for the House Republicans to act and pass the bill. All this time people have been deported and families broken up. Their American children are costing millions to be put in foster care. I really wish they would grow up and act like mature members and do good and stop voting “No” or not voting at all. They could trump the president and pass the immigration bill. That excuse of not trusting Obama, just does not wash. The President has put 30,000 agents on the border, but if there is a will they will find a way — nothing can be 100 percent. They can enter our country by planes, boats or through the wilderness area we share with Canada. They are not hurting the president. They are hurting real people and that is not how to govern.

First, it’s pure fallacy to say that “people have been deported and families broken up” during the Obama administration. Most of the so-called deportations aren’t deportations. Prior to the Obama administration, people apprehended while crossing the border were classified as people apprehended at the border. From the time that they took office, President Obama’s DHS has classified people caught at the border as deportations.

Had the Bush administration counted people caught at the border as deportations, the Obama administration’s deportations would be miniscule by comparison.

Second, I don’t care if President Obama has waited 515 days for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate immigration bill or if he’s waited 1,515 days, the Constitution doesn’t give him the authority to write new law. And yes, President Obama wrote new law because, in addition to telling DHS not to deport illegal immigrants, he gave them temporary legal status. Only Congress can write that provision. President Obama’s only responsibility in that setting is to sign the law that Congress passed.

Third, the reader says that not trusting President Obama isn’t an excuse for not passing the bill. On November 4, the American people said the opposite. With a booming voice, they said that they wanted Congress to not pass an immigration bill until President Obama could be trusted.

Finally, this explosion of illegal aliens is hurting blue collar workers nationwide. With an overabundance of low-skill workers, companies don’t have an incentive to hire legal immigrants and people born in the United States. They can pay cheap wages to illegal aliens. These companies get the additional ‘bonus’ of not paying for health insurance benefits.

President Obama is a lame duck president who wants to stay relevant. The nation is turning the page. It’s time to start fixing the things President Obama broke.

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