Fresh from a midterm election where voters overwhelming repudiated President Obama’s policies by giving the GOP control of the United States Senate, the largest GOP majority in the House of Representatives in 90 years and 31 governorships, he revealed the steps he will take to address the contentious issue of immigration reform by unilateral executive order (or “memorandum”) Thursday night. He will sign the order on Friday.
While there’s nothing particularly egregious about Obama’s action (would we really deport 11 million illegal aliens?), the manner and method utilized in issuing the edict is an affront to the very spirit of the Constitution and the concept of separation of powers.
Obama said his reason for acting was because the Congress “failed to act.” For his own part, Obama failed to explain why he didn’t act earlier when he controlled both houses of Congress even though he invoked Scripture as a basis for taking this step. But never mind.
While Americans want action on immigration reform, 48% of Americans disapprove of him acting alone on immigration while 38% approve. More telling, and somewhat ominous for Democrats hoping to hit a homerun with the Latino community, 43% of Latinos say they would approve of him acting alone but 37% oppose such action.
Looks more like a double, if that.
Network broadcasters gave the White House a pass on carrying the speech live. They took the position, according to a network insider, because they sensed that Obama’s action “was overtly political.”
And indeed it is. Obama has conferred with no Republicans on the matter. He even withheld his announcement to protect vulnerable Democrats in the midterm elections. He issues it now only because the Democrats still, albeit temporarily, control the Senate. Looks like the mainline press can read election results and see this action for what it is: blatant partisan politics.
Obama’s sycophants were out in force prior to the announcement seeking to justify the unilateral and partisan nature of the president’s action.
For example Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) proclaimed Wednesday that Obama’s action would put him in the company Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, who both used their executive authorities to expand rights for African-Americans. “I think that President Obama ought to put himself alongside these … great presidents and use [an] executive order to do something big on immigration.”
This is all well and good, but these presidents were acting to protect American citizens, people who were born here, not those who were here illegally. This isn’t the first time disingenuousness has reared its head in the ranks of the White House speaker’s bureau.
Then Obama invoked the “Reagan and Bush did it so why can’t I?” logic.
In 1987, Reagan deferred the deportation of the dependent children of adults to whom Congress had already granted legal status to in 1986. At that time Reagan in accordance with established congressional authority.
Bush did something similar in 1990. He deferred the deportation and provided work authorization to the undocumented spouses and children of beneficiaries of the 1986 legalization act. He only took this action because he knew that Congress was in the process of amending the 1986 law. Congress passed legislation at the end of that year and codified the president’s “family unity” executive action.
Today, however, Obama is acting because Congress has thus far declined to provide legal status to the undocumented; Reagan and Bush acted because Congress did so. This is a stark difference. Nowhere in the Constitution does it provide that the executive branch may legislate where the legislative branch declines to do so.
Those in the Congress who opposed the president’s usurpation of power are not without recourse. They can take steps to rescind the president’s order, to let it stand and expire on its own or to codify it and make it permanent. Pass a bill, send it to the president, and let him deal with it as he may. This is how the process can and should work.
The new GOP legislative muscle is getting a lot of unsolicited advice these days on what they ought to do. And here’s some more:
Do not overreact and lose the high ground. Understand that Obama’s job over the next two years is to goad, prick, annoy and provoke you. You only control one-third of the government. You do not have veto proof majorities in either chamber. You cannot sign legislation into law. And you do not have the bully pulpit of the White House.
The Republicans should be a voice of reason on this and all other issues.
Talk to those immigrants whose hard work, patience and playing by the rules legitimized their presence in our nation. Explain how all that has now been cheapened by the Democrats all for the sake of political expediency.
And explain to those who are in the naturalization process and playing by the rules are all now chumps.
Polling data suggests they’ll listen.