Illegal Immigrants, Amnesty & an Imperial President

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. (Article I, Section 1, U.S. Constitution)

For someone who served as editor of the Harvard Law Review and who described himself as a “constitutional law professor,” our nation’s current President, Barack H. Obama, seems to be woefully deficient in his understanding of the United States Constitution.  By the time I was finished with 9th grade Civics, I knew that Congress (Legislative Branch) made laws, the President (Executive Branch) enforced the laws, and the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) interpreted the laws.  Of course, by the time I finished law school, I understood that the Judicial Branch also made laws, but that’s another post.

By executive fiat, the President — harkening back to the days of the “Imperial Presidencies” of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon — has, in effect, granted backdoor amnesty to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are in this country illegally.  What President Obama and his liberal Democrat allies could not achieve by legal means — by Congress passing a law and the President signing it — they now have achieved by flouting the law.  That should not surprise anyone at this point in the Obama presidency.  He is, in so many ways, the embodiment of Richard Nixon.  Like Nixon, President Obama has skirted the Constitution to get what he wants, regardless of the laws which are in place.  Or, in the case of the Dream Act, which are not in place.

The signs of Obama’s “Imperial Presidency” have been with us from the beginning, but will only continue to worsen.  Those who believe in the “Rule of Law” and a Constitutional Republic can only shudder at the prospect of an Obama second term.  The Imperial Obama would continue to do what Imperial Presidents before him have done:

“Imperial Presidency” is the phrase used by some historians and political  scientists to refer to the Presidencies of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. The notion that the President is above the law and  that what he orders is the law, despite conflicting provisions of the Constitution or laws passed by Congress, is the fundamental tenet of the  imperial Presidency. (full article here)

The President, by “ordering” the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to halt deportations of illegal immigrants, has de facto implemented the provisions of the Dream Act, which has thus far failed to become law.  Of course, this President views himself above the law, above the people, and above it all.  In a June 17 department memo, there are 19 factors which must now be used in the 300,000 or so deportation cases:

The memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement  Director John Morton instructed staff to consider 19 factors when exercising  “prosecutorial discretion” — or the discretion an ICE attorney has in deciding  whether and how to pursue an immigration case. The list includes factors similar  to those in the DREAM Act, like whether someone arrived in the U.S. as a “young  child,” is pursuing an education or has served in the military.( emphasis added; full article here)

So, what the President and his liberal allies in Congress cannot get passed through the legislative process will instead become law through Executive Fiat.  The disregard for the rule of law and Constitutional process should amaze everyone, but this is what we have come to expect from this Administration and his leftist enablers in Congress:

“Today’s announcement shows that this president is willing to put muscle behind his words and to use his power to intervene when the lives of good people are being ruined by bad laws,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, who has taken a leadership role on the issue since the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 2009.(full article here)

Talk about irony.  That Rep. Gutierrez has taken the mantle of Edward Kennedy, who in his lifetime was a prime example of someone who thought himself above the law.  What a rich tradition that the “Gentleman from Illinois” is carrying on.  I’m sure Ted Kennedy would be proud.

People everyday are ruined by bad laws.  Millions of innocent babies are aborted every year because of bad laws.  Of course, President Obama and Rep. Gutierrez would fight tooth and nail to defend the bad laws which protect abortion on demand.  The President has even fought to preserve bad laws which allow for the murder of innocent babies right up until the time they are born, if even the babies are full-term and viable.  So, the reliance on the “good people, bad laws” defense is pathetic.

It would be far easier to give the President a pass on his actions if it were not for the craven political interests involved.  Most observers view the President’s actions as political payment to left-wing Hispanic groups who have agitated over the last two years for “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” (read, “Amnesty”).  But, those who support the Dream Act and other “legal pathways to citizenship” are not confined to La Raza and other groups aligned with the Democrat Party.

In fact, the nation’s largest Protestant body — the Southern Baptist Convention — is on record as supporting Immigration Reform.  This past June, some 3,000 messengers, representing 16 million Southern Baptists, passed a resolution that many have interpreted as a call for amnesty.  Richard Land, the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the SBC, is even on record stating that “his” agency would support a “clean” version of the Dream Act.

I wonder if Dr. Land considers the actions of President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security, and ICE as “clean” or “unclean?”  As one Southern Baptist who Dr. Land does not speak for, I can tell you that this President’s actions, if not reversed, will only lead to more “lawless” actions.  While the Obama Administration may not have technically violated any laws, they have certainly damaged the Constitution and violated the rule of law.  LBJ and Richard Nixon would be proud.  And, that’s not a compliment.





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