Obama oversteps on immigration order

June 23, 2012


— “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations (of immigrants brought here illegally as children) through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed.”

     — President Obama, March 28, 2011

Those laws remain on the books. They have not changed. Yet Obama last week suspended these very deportations — granting infinitely renewable “deferred action” with attendant work permits — thereby unilaterally rewriting the law. And doing precisely what he himself admits he is barred from doing.

Obama had tried to change the law. In late 2010, he asked Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which offered a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants. Congress refused.

When subsequently pressed by Hispanic groups to simply implement the law by executive action, Obama explained that it would be illegal. “Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. ... But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

That was then. Now he’s gone and done it anyway. It’s obvious why. The election approaches and his margin is slipping. He needs a big Hispanic vote and this is the perfect pander. After all, who will call him on it? A supine press? Congressional Democrats? Nothing like an upcoming election to temper their Bush 43-era zeal for defending Congress’ exclusive Article I power to legislate.

With a single Homeland Security Department memo, the immigration laws no longer apply to 800,000 people. By what justification? Prosecutorial discretion, says Janet Napolitano.

This is utter nonsense. Prosecutorial discretion is the application on a case-by-case basis of considerations of extreme and extenuating circumstances. No one is going to deport, say, a 29-year-old illegal immigrant whose parents had just died in some ghastly accident and who is the sole support for a disabled younger sister and ailing granny. That’s what prosecutorial discretion is for. The Napolitano memo is nothing of the sort. It’s the unilateral creation of a new category of persons — a class of 800,000 — who, regardless of individual circumstance, are hereby exempt from current law so long as they meet certain biographic criteria.

This is not discretion. This is a fundamental rewriting of the law.

Imagine: A Republican president submits to Congress a bill abolishing the capital gains tax. Congress rejects it. The president then orders the IRS to stop collecting capital gains taxes, and declares that anyone refusing to pay them will suffer no fine, no penalty, no sanction whatsoever. (Analogy first suggested by law professor John Yoo.)  

It would be a scandal, a constitutional crisis, a cause for impeachment. Why? Because unlike, for example, war powers, this is not an area of perpetual executive-legislative territorial contention. Nor is cap-gains, like the judicial status of unlawful enemy combatants, an area where the law is silent or ambiguous. Capital gains is straightforward tax law. Just as Obama’s bombshell amnesty-by-fiat is a subversion of straightforward immigration law.

It is shameful that congressional Democrats should be applauding such a brazen end-run. Of course it’s smart politics. It divides Republicans, rallies the Hispanic vote and pre-empts Marco Rubio’s attempt to hammer out an acceptable legislative compromise. Very clever. But, by Obama’s own admission, it is naked lawlessness.

As for policy, I sympathize with the obvious humanitarian motives of the DREAM Act. But two important considerations are overlooked in concentrating exclusively on the DREAM Act poster child, the straight-A valedictorian who rescues kittens from trees.

First, offering potential illegal immigrants the prospect that, if they can successfully hide long enough, their children will one day freely enjoy the bounties of American life creates a huge incentive for yet more illegal immigration.

Second, the case for compassion and fairness is hardly as clear-cut as advertised. What about those who languish for years in godforsaken countries awaiting legal admission to America? Their scrupulousness about the law could easily cost their children the American future that illegal immigrants will have secured for theirs.

But whatever our honest and honorable disagreements about the policy, what holds us together is a shared allegiance to our constitutional order. That’s the fundamental issue here. As Obama himself argued in rejecting the executive action he has now undertaken, “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.”

Except, apparently, when violating that solemn obligation serves his re-election needs.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


jayhawklawrence 1 year, 10 months ago

At least Obama's decision on immigration was a humanitarian one which is not what I can say about the Republican proposals.

It appeared to me that only Gingrich made any reasonable suggestions regarding this issue.

It is a mystery to me, as it is to most Americans, why politicians have not been able to come up with a sensible immigration policy and enforce it.

And if they cannot come up with a sensible and unified approach to the immigration issue, why should we believe they can accomplish anything at all.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

Flex and his 'No Holds' has been "arming" these Bandits as fast as they can. Issa is ruining the 'foundation' being laid by the Complex Intellectuals.

***Illegals Caught Entering U.S. From Terror-Linked Nations

The Border Patrol apprehended 315 aliens trying to enter the United States illegally from nations that “promote, produce, or protect terrorists” in fiscal 2011.

From Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011, the Border Patrol — the U.S. Customs and Border Protection component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — arrested 327,577 illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Among those were 46,997 termed “Other Than Mexican,” including 255 who originated from what the DHS calls “special interest countries.”

Those are defined by the DHS as nations “that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members,” and consist of 34 nations plus the West Bank and Gaza.

The illegals apprehended include 20 from Iran and 36 from Pakistan, plus 76 from Bangladesh, 41 from the Philippines, five from Somalia, four from Tunisia, and three from Syria.

In addition, the Border Patrol apprehended 66 aliens from “special interest countries” trying to enter the country along U.S. coastlines in fiscal 2011.

They included one from Iran, one from Pakistan, 10 from the Philippines, eight from Uzbekistan, seven from Jordan, and five from Indonesia.

All told, the Border Patrol caught 6,552 aliens along the U.S. coast.

The Border Patrol also reported that last year it seized more than 2.5 million pounds of marijuana at U.S. borders, plus nearly 10,000 pounds of cocaine, 619 firearms, and 45,460 rounds of ammunition.

(from the source)


jjinks 1 year, 10 months ago

Well there are a few things going on right now that makes you think smart citizens are starting to wake up and realize that there won't be an America for their children if things don't change quickly.


BornAgainAmerican 1 year, 10 months ago

The disappinted progressives are in denial. It will not be much longer until the liberal biased blamestream media will be unable to cover this President's (I use the term loosely) actions. Obamacare will be ruled unconstitutional, there will be challenges to his EO that unlawfully grants exemptions to our immigraton laws, the transparent Executive Privilege extended to Eric With-Holder will be challenged, and Watergate will surely pale in comparison to the White House security leaks. If this President (I use the term loosely) is re-elected, how long before he is impeached? Best solution is not to re-elect this corrupt, gansta' style politician.


Getaroom 1 year, 10 months ago

More of the same from from this bilge pump mouth piece for Faux Nuz. Lies and distortions to the magnitude of x10. Pure BS.


jfs1047 1 year, 10 months ago

I find it amazing that a country of immigrants continues to argue whether folks who have been here for most of their lives, through no fault of their own, cannot stay, even though they are productive, law-abiding people.



booyalab 1 year, 10 months ago

"because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed.” ...and then election time rolled around.


ThePilgrim 1 year, 10 months ago


I agree that Obama unilaterally passes exec orders to skirt laws. Ridiculous, hypocritical things that the Left were railing against Bush for.

But News flash - Most of the illegals in Western Kansas, and elsewhere, have seemingly valid, albeit fraudulent, social security cards and documentation which allow them to get driver's licenses, vote, and continue to skirt these laws anyway. It's a well known fact that every meat packing plant in Dodge City and Garden City have many folks with duplicate social security numbers - you can't even use a computer program for HR that uses SSN's as the primary key/unique identifier or the program will have database violations and crash.

Schools, Dept of Education, SRS, Medicaid, and all government agencies that use and track SSN's know that they have illegals who have duplicate SSN's. They know that three or four duplicates of a single SSN exist in Dodge City alone. And they look the other way and don't do anything about it now. So why is any declaration of amnesty a surprise for anyone?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

This is nothing but political hysteria coming from the reckless Repub RINO party because they do not want to talk about the largest issue that does not go away and repeats itself:

  1. ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance.

  2. ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern.

  3. ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money?

CK has no idea what he is talking about. He writes fairy details. Reagan/Bush opened the floodgates for south of the border immigrant slave labor.

Then Reagan/Bush did nothing. Bush/Quale did nothing. Clinton/Gore did nothing

GW Bush blew billions on projects such as building a wall along that border.... I thought Reagan implied repubs were against walls.

Then took on a virtual fence project through BOEING that had never been applied to a situation such as this = billions in pork barrel.

There are some very wealthy republicans who live along that border that do not want walls and virtual fences invading their privacy or their property. It's in the news.

What can Obama do? Not a helluva lot... face it.

How about busting employers for hiring immigrants without proper credentials? There is no need for new laws or pork barrel projects.


jhawkinsf 1 year, 10 months ago

The biggest problem with this is that it's only step one. Steps two through whatever must follow. We can say we're doing this, the granting of some type of legitimacy to the 800,000, for humanitarian reasons. But what happens when the parents are picked up? Will we be in the business of deporting some members of families and not others. So there is step two, families of those 800,000 get to stay. And if some family members are still back in their country of origin, can we really deny them access to their family members here? Step three. And it goes on and on. Imagine one of the 800,000 serving in the military and becomes injured, would we deport their caregiver? Or if one of the 800,000 is caring for their elderly parents who face deportation themselves? The problem is that this isn't an honest discussion. The 800,000 is step one on the road to an amnesty for the full 12 million already here and then the many millions more who will be encouraged to break our laws, knowing that we compassionate Americans will eventually let them all stay. That's what the reality is. And that's what should be discussed here.


beatrice 1 year, 10 months ago

Overstep, or just a big step? It was certainly a bold step.


loreeta 1 year, 10 months ago

Charles krathummer may be not in favor of democrats, but president violated his own laws and it's very clear from his speech of mar 2011 and his actions today.

Even if some us agree that he needed to take action because congress is do-nothing congress, there are many high priority issues waiting action, why was giving amnesty and work permits to almost 1 million illegals his highest priority? This president has his priorities in order only for his re-election but messed up priorities for the good of the country.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 10 months ago

A train wreck for America is unfolding before our eyes. Barack Hussein Obama II, the most polarizing president in US history, is growing pathologically desperate. The Obama campaign is in a state of near apoplexy because their internal poll numbers look real bad. People who are in a position to know say that this November's election could be a rerun of the Reagan-Carter matchup. If Obama felt seriously about immigration he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate for the first two years. But he didn’t. By unilaterally using his executive powers, King Obama has simply chosen to ignore the basic separation of powers, congressional process, the Constitution, and the concerns of the American people. Everyone close your eyes because the train is coming.


BornAgainAmerican 1 year, 10 months ago

"Pigs aren't flying yet."

I beg to differ. The pigs are indeed flying and dropping their business all over our constitution. Impeach the pigs.


tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

I guess Obama could have waited for Congress to do something. Oh wait, we have a do nothing Congress. Pigs aren't flying yet.


camper 1 year, 10 months ago

In other news, deportations have increased for gang members from Central America. This started under President Bush and continues with President Obama. I don't know enough about the work permit issue, but these 800,000 people, most of which are looking to support there families, something we'd do if we were in their shoes. Also hypocritical because we Americans have it set up to rely on cheaper labor. There is some greed in this on our part.

I believe the biggest problem is Mexico itself. They have corruption and a very weak government, education and infrastructure. Until Mexico gets its house in order and has more opportunity for its citizens, the problem won't change.


camper 1 year, 10 months ago

Guessed by the title that it was a Krauthammer piece before even clicking.


BornAgainAmerican 1 year, 10 months ago

Executive Order granting exemptions to the immigration laws. Executive Privilege extended to Eric With-Holder. Obamacare will probably be found unconstitutional by SCOTUS. Security leaks that probably came from the White House which compromise our security and harm our foreign agents. Instead of re-electing this Clown, impeachment proceedings should begin immediately.



observant 1 year, 10 months ago

Krauthammer consistently attacks anything Obama or the Democrats attempt to do to solve countries problems. Like Senate minority leader, he wants Obama to be a one term president, no matter the consequences to the rest of us.


Flap Doodle 1 year, 10 months ago

What desperate ploy will the tyrant next pull to try to get another term at 1600 Penn Ave? Stay tuned.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

These "Trespassers" can only make New America a better place to domicile. 'Right'? At the very least New America will become as 'nice' as Mexico is.


jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

This would be convincing if the author were equally concerned about this sort of thing regardless of which side did it, but I suspect that's not the case.

Interestingly, I agree with him about the policy - it's flawed for exactly the reasons he gives.


cato_the_elder 1 year, 10 months ago

Obama is one of the most corrupt presidents ever to hold the office. He has criticized our Constitution as outmoded for the times, and has demonstrated that he has no difficulty running roughshod over it.

The Constitutional Scholar-in-Chief has now unilaterally done by fiat that which only a year ago he specifically said he did not have the power to do.

The American public has come to find out what "transparency" means, Chicago-style.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.