Less than a year ago, President Obama made it clear that he understood that he was obligated to enforce our immigration laws:
“America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don’t have a choice about that. That’s part of my job,” he said. When Ramos asked a follow-up question about granting formal administrative relief to undocumented youth, Obama was even more forceful: “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”Right, because there's this thing called the US Constitution, which he swore to preserve, protect and defend, and which explicitly requires him to uphold the laws of the country.
But what a difference nine little months and declining reelection prospects have made. Now King Barack, ironically a "constitutional scholar," has decided that he does, after all, "have a choice" and, in effect, we aren't a nation of laws. Can he do that? John Yoo says no, not legally. Executive Overreach:
President Obama’s claim that he can refuse to deport 800,000 aliens here in the country illegally illustrates the unprecedented stretching of the Constitution and the rule of law. He is laying claim to presidential power that goes even beyond that claimed by the Bush administration, in which I served. There is a world of difference in refusing to enforce laws that violate the Constitution (Bush) and refusing to enforce laws because of disagreements over policy (Obama).Next question: Can he get away with it? The short answer: Only if he gets reelected. Rep. Steve King is going to sue, for what that's worth.
Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president has the duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This provision was included to make sure that the president could not simply choose, as the British King had, to cancel legislation simply because he disagreed with it. President Obama cannot refuse to carry out a congressional statute simply because he thinks it advances the wrong policy. To do so violates the very core of his constitutional duties.
Victor Davis Hanson suspects this divisive, illegal reelection ploy will backfire:
If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law — when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action — then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon.Read the rest. Hanson also raises the unemployment issue, which was the subject of Neil Munro's excellent question yesterday in the Rose Garden. For the record, this is what he asked His Majesty: "Is this the right thing to do for American workers?" Obviously it isn't.
Politically, Obama calculates that some polls showing the current likely Hispanic support for him in the high 50s or low 60s would not provide enough of a margin in critical states such as Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, or perhaps also in Florida and Virginia, to counteract the growing slippage of the independent vote and the energy of the clinger/tea-party activists. Thus, what was not legal or advisable in 2009, 2010, or 2011, suddenly has become critical in mid-2012. No doubt free green cards will quickly lead to citizenship and a million new voters. Will it work politically? Obama must assume lots of things: that all Hispanics vote as a block in favoring exempting more illegal aliens from the law, and are without worry that the high unemployment rate hits their community among the hardest; that black voters, stung by his gay-marriage stance, will not resent what may be seen as de facto amnesty, possibly endangering his tiny (and slipping) lead in places like Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. And because polls show overwhelming resistance to non-enforcement of immigration law, Obama also figures that the minority who supports his recent action does so far more vehemently than the majority who opposes it. Time will tell; but my gut feeling is that his brazen act will enrage far more than it will delight — and for a variety of different reasons. As with all his special-interest efforts — the Keystone cancellation, war-on-women ploy, gay-marriage turnabout, and now de facto amnesty — Obama believes dividing Americans along class, ethnic, gender, and cultural lines will result in a cobbled together majority, far more preferable than a 1996 Clinton-like effort to win over the independents by forging a bipartisan consensus.
Munro has been accused of disrespecting the office; a president mustn't be interrupted! I'm all for respect and decorum, but impertinence is trumped by pertinence this time. The question was an important one, and the act of questioning is even more important. How sad that we've reached the point where our elected leader can wave his sceptre and exempt a million or so people from the law of the land and no one is allowed to ask a question. See Munro's account here.
Janet Napolitano had a "press conference," too. From the Daily Caller:
The legal rollback is needed to focus law-enforcement resources on criminals and terrorists, officials claimed.A few problems with the new not-amnesty:
But Napolitano also undermined the claim by highlighting the policy’s broad and immediate impact.
“Effective immediately, young [foreign] people who were brought to the United States… will no longer be removed from the country,” Napolitano said in the press conference.
The administration’s large-scale amnesty for roughly 800,000 illegals may spur anger among voters already facing high unemployment. [. . .]
The potential for campaign-trail damage was highlighted by Napolitano’s June 15 press conference.
She portrayed the amnesty as a cost-saving program, not an amnesty or a bid for Hispanic votes in 2012.
“I believe that additional measures are needed to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases,” she said.
But she did not take questions from reporters.
The administration’s election-year amnesty move may grow far larger than advertised, because it can be used by foreign children who are now in the country when they reach the age of 15. Younger illegal immigrants “will be able to age into the process,” said an administration official June 15.Does anyone really believe Homeland Security is going to effectively screen out illegal aliens guilty of other crimes? And how could they possibly determine at what point in the past a particular illegal alien crossed the border? I assume they'll just take a person's word for it. Not that it will matter much, with the borders thrown wide open. Mark Krikorian:
It may also be exploited by other immigrants who will use the existing black-market in false documents to fake suitable work histories and ages.
The new policy may also spur additional illegal immigration by people wishing to see their children immigrate into United States’ relatively high-wage economy.
The process puts illegals under age 30 on track to gain legal residency, citizenship and the ability to co-sponsor their older relatives to legally join them in the United States.
New citizens, including older residents, are eligible for the United States’ relatively generous welfare programs, including Medicare and Medicare.
Obscured by the president’s illegal DREAM decree is a report by Steve Dinan in today’s Washington Times on a draft memo instructing Border Patrol agents to let certain illegal aliens go:But Dear Leader isn't asking for an argument, America.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency charged with guarding the U.S. borders, has written a secret draft policy that would let its agents catch and release low-priority illegal immigrants rather than bring them in for processing and prosecution. . . .
The memo pointedly warns that “no public mention” should be made of the policy in order to keep it from being subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
The memo says the policy was drafted at the behest of immigrant rights groups.
So, let them go if they’re caught at the border, then give them work authorization if they stay here long enough. Great!
I linked to it above, but too obscurely. Here's Dan Collins on yesterday's pearl-clutching:
The extraordinary rudeness and imperiousness of Obama's abuse of arrogated power, however, wasn't the focus of most of the coverage; rather it was the extraordinary, unprecedented, mind-blowing, trailblazing, epoch-making ill-manneredness of the reporter from the Daily Caller, whose job was apparently to sit there and take it.Read the rest.
Do nothing Congress? Obstructionism? Obama spent his political capital on other things when the Dems controlled the House and Senate, such as extremely unpopular ObamaCare, which will cost, according to the latest CBO estimates, twice what was promised.
Obama's abuses of power spring from his own desperate sense of superiority to you, me, and the mere law. To hear people arguing that those folks in the press pool whom he has so long abused owe their respect to the office at least, when they witness every day his abuse of it, blows my mind so hard some of my grey matter is now circulating in the earth's troposphere.
Thanks to Larwyn for the big link!
Thanks also to Michelle Malkin for the Buzzworthy link.
Most recent posts here. Follow us on Twitter here. Amazon store here.