The immigration “reform” issue is not difficult to understand. President Obama and the Democrats want amnesty (i.e., instant U.S. citizenship) for all illegal aliens. They want it because, they believe, these aliens-turned-citizens (being poor) will automatically vote as welfare state supporting Democrats, thereby giving Democrats even more power. It’s deplorable and disgusting, but it’s not anything we don’t already see every single day in Washington.
The more eventful and disturbing development is Obama’s unprecedented and unconstitutional use of executive power. As a President, he’s obliged to uphold existing immigration law, or any law that’s on the books, even if he doesn’t like it. The same would be true in reverse. If a Republican is elected President in 2016, for example, and Obamacare is still on the books, that President would be forced to act in accordance with the law, until or unless it’s repealed through Congress. Any other action would lead to calls for impeachment.
Obama is basically saying he does not like the existing law and therefore he will not enforce it. He blames Republicans in Congress for failing to pass a new law that he can enforce. Therefore, he’s now saying, in the wake of his decisive electoral defeat in Congress, “I’m just going to make up my own law and do what I want.”
Here’s what Politico.com and Newsmax.com are reporting:
“They [Congress] have the ability to fix the system. What they don’t have is the ability to do is expect me to stand by with a broken system in perpetuity,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Myanmar dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi, according to Politico. “It’s way overdue. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years now and it’s been consistently stalled.”
The president insisted that unless Congress issues legislation first, he is determined to act before the end of the year on proposals that are expected to include extending amnesty and work permits to possibly millions of illegal immigrants.
“I gave the House over a year to at least give a vote on the Senate bill. They failed to do so,” Obama said, according to Politico. “I indicated to Speaker [John] Boehner several months ago that if Congress failed to act, I would use all lawful authority that I possess … That’s going to happen. And that’s going to happen before the end of the year.”
In high school, I learned (and retained) the basics about the American form of government. (I wonder how many of today’s high school graduates have.) The legislative branch (Congress) makes the law. The executive branch (the President) enforces the law. The judicial branch (the courts) interpret the law.
There will naturally be confusing and gray areas, at times. But this is the basic principle our Constitution requires.
In Obama’s case with immigration especially, there’s no gray area. He’s all but saying it literally: “I don’t like the law and therefore will not enforce it. Give me a new law, or I’ll just make my own.”
Playing the victim like the narcissist he is, Obama has not responded to the last election results the way he told Republicans to respond after the Democratic wins in 2012. Back then he said, “Try winning an election,” and maybe they will get somewhere. They have now done so, and he does not care. Psychologically that’s his own problem to work out, and politically it’s not surprising. But the U.S. Constitution — our whole way of life and government (or what remains of our democratic republic) — is at stake here.
Does anyone notice or care? Obama is hoping nobody does. To date, he has been right. He knows that he suffered some loss in the last Congressional election, but he also knows he’s still the President and he will try to see how much he can get away with, based on what people let him do. In his personal and professional life, I suspect he’s someone who’s rarely questioned or challenged. That’s why he comes across as such an arrogant and petulant, entitled prince, not just in manner but in his actual actions on a daily basis. We know for certain that in his public political life, as President, he has literally never been held accountable, other than some Congressional losses in 2010 and this year. No other president, in either party, would have won reelection on his record in 2012. No wonder he acts the way he does, because (1) that’s who he is and, (2) a majority of us gave our consent, and still give it daily (by saying and doing almost nothing.)
The issue here isn’t primarily immigration. Immigration is a very serious and important issue. But the even bigger issue here now is the Constitution itself.
If Congress and Americans stand by and let this President blatantly defy his Constitutional limitations, then we’re sending a message to future Presidents (of all political persuasions) as well: “Do what you have to do — even if it goes outside your obvious Constitutional powers.”
Obama has launched a subtle dictatorship, right before our eyes. I define a dictatorship as a context in which one man (or woman) rules citizens, over and above the law. The United States founders explicitly and eloquently set up our republic as a “nation of laws, not of men.” That’s why we have the three branches of government that so get on Obama’s nerves. What Obama has been showing us, on the immigration issue as well as other things such as selective enforcement of Obamacare, is: “It’s a nation of laws — except when this man says so.” If that’s not the beginning of dictatorship, I don’t know what is.
This has been building for a long time, as the federal government has gradually — for more than a century — expanded powers outside its constitutional limits. However, Obama is — to my knowledge — the first President to openly and blatantly (with no apologies) tell Congress that he’ll simply enforce his own law if they don’t give him the one he wants.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court, but eventually stood down. Obama doesn’t stand down. President Nixon would have been impeached, but decided to resign instead after his association with a political break-in was exposed. President Clinton did face impeachment for perjury in a sexual harassment case, although the Senate chose not to remove him from office. Whether either of these offenses constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors” as called for in the impeachment of a President is debatable. Obama’s breaches are stunning in their transparency.
The Republican leaders will not hold Obama accountable. With Obama’s blatant disregard for his Constitutional limitations, why is there even a question about impeachment?
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