Home | Opinion | Dick Morris

Dick Morris: Why amnesty will force layoffs

President Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants will produce a disaster of unparalleled magnitude when the ObamaCare employer mandate kicks in.

Those granted amnesty will not be eligible for ObamaCare. The amnesty will merely keep them safe from deportation; it won’t make them legal. And ObamaCare can only go to citizens and legal noncitizens living in the U.S.

But the employer mandate in ObamaCare requires large companies to offer insurance to each of their full-time workers or pay a hefty fine to the government for failing to do so.

Combine these two programs and you have a huge incentive for employers to dismiss any blue-collar workers on their payroll and replace them with illegal immigrants covered by amnesty. These folks are allowed to work but not to get ObamaCare. An employer can’t be fined for failing to offer ObamaCare to employees who are ineligible to receive it. It’s an employer’s dream!

Some argue that the anti-discrimination provisions of ObamaCare will bar employers from offering insurance to some of their workers (citizens and legal immigrants) and not to others (illegal immigrants). But that argument seems far-fetched, because the illegal immigrants cannot enroll in ObamaCare.

Even if the argument holds water, what is to prevent an employer from simply refusing to insure any of his workers at all? He couldn’t be fined for not insuring a workforce that cannot accept the insurance!

By creating a pool of work-legal/ObamaCare-illegal workers, the president will make the incentive to replace citizens with illegal immigrants practically irresistible.

(My thanks to Dennis M. Lynch, documentary filmmaker, for alerting me to this situation).

If you think Democrats are bemoaning the loss of the blue-collar whites who voted with Republicans in the midterm elections now, wait 'til the amnesty/ObamaCare mandate combo kicks in. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! 

As the 2016 elections approach, this conflict between amnesty and the employer mandate will likely become a major campaign issue. It calls into question the two hallmarks of the Obama presidency and puts them on a collision course. Even the strongest defenders of either policy have to concede the problem and come up with solutions. But they could be hard to come by.

Obama cannot solve the problem by giving illegal immigrants legal status by executive order. If he felt he could, he would have done so already in his huge executive power overreach. And Congress is not likely to cooperate in changing the employer mandate or in making the newly amnestied immigrants eligible for ObamaCare. Republicans will be more inclined to let the Democrats stew in the brew they have concocted.

The dimensions of this problem are enormous. One wonders if any of Obama’s crew spotted it during the run-up to his executive order. It is hard to imagine former President Clinton failing to notice such a conflict between his two major programs. 

Already, the Center for Immigration Studies points out that the Census Bureau figures indicate three out of four new jobs created under Obama’s tenure have gone to non-native-born Americans ( a category the Census says covers legal immigrants, illegal ones and naturalized US citizens). Out of 8 million new jobs created since 2008, 6 million have gone to people who are not native-born American citizens. Now, the desire of employers to find a way out from under the expensive mandate in ObamaCare will accelerate the process.

It will be a great line to feature on your resume that you came here illegally and are not eligible for ObamaCare. It will go a long way toward guaranteeing a job.


Morris, who served as adviser to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former President Clinton, is the author of 17 books, including his latest, Power Grab: Obama’s Dangerous Plan for a One Party Nation and Here Come the Black Helicopters. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to dickmorris.com.