During a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversight hearing on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson admitted state laws like California’s, giving various licenses to illegal aliens, reduce the likelihood that the illegal aliens will ever choose to leave the country. “There are states now where they are permitted to have driver’s licenses. [The] California Supreme Court says than an undocumented immigrant in this country can practice law. So they’re not going away. They’re not going to self deport,” he told the Committee. Illegal aliens’ decision not to leave on their own, a decision Secretary Johnson admitted is influenced by favorable treatment, means that we have no choice but to give virtually all of them amnesty. “The likelihood is next to zero that they will all self deport,” he said. “We have to accept the fact that we have 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in this country, we have to deal with them. I don’t think we should allow them to continue to exist in a state of legal ambiguity or in a dark hole.”

Of course, there is no “legal ambiguity” regarding the status of illegal aliens, regardless of how many benefits states like California choose to give them.  Their presence in the country is unambiguously unlawful, whether or not the State of California decides they are not committing a state violation on top of whatever federal violations of immigration law they are committing when they drive, or hold themselves out as a California lawyer.  The only possible “legal ambiguity” that could exist in regard to any illegal aliens currently in this country is that deliberately caused by the administration, with unconstitutional programs like DACA  that purport to create a kind of lawful presence for certain categories of illegal aliens. The solution to any such ambiguity created by the administration implementing acts that Congress never passed into law, of course, is for the Administration to dismantle the unlawful programs, not for Congress to pass a law blessing the President’s unconstitutional behavior.

If laws like California’s did create any legal ambiguity, the Administration could solve this problem by suing California, as it sued Arizona for SB 1070. However, despite Secretary Johnson’s later laughable assurance in the hearing that he agrees that “there should be disincentives to engage in illegal migration,” this Administration will only take actions against states that discourage illegal immigration, not ones that encourage it.  After all, if the Administration weren’t ensuring that no consequences are faced by illegal aliens for breaking the nation’s immigration laws, how could it say that we need an amnesty because no significant number will ever go home on their own?