Obama to Announce Plan to Vastly Expand National Pool of Legal Low-Skilled Labor
John Boehner’s office collected 22 times President Obama said he couldn’t ignore Congress and/or create his own immigration law. A couple of the most glaring and sweeping declarations:
“I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.” (3/31/08)
“I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. . . . Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” (7/25/11)
That one’s particularly vivid, because President Obama appears to tee up his own impeachment, declaring that changing the laws on his own violates the Constitution and would represent a high crime or misdemeanor. Of course, Obama would welcome that; he could play the victim, it would awaken and stir a depressed Democratic base, and there’s just no way the two-thirds of the Senate would vote to remove President Obama from office. If, as you suspect, President Obama wants Republicans to try to impeach him, this raises the disturbing prospect that the next two years will feature Obama attempting to provoke an impeachment fight by committing more and more acts that violate the Constitution.
“This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my presidency. The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed. And Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system. And what that means is that we have certain obligations to enforce the laws that are in place even if we think that in many cases the results may be tragic.” (2/14/13)
In light of this, it is not the least bit outrageous for critics of Obama to accuse him of acting like an emperor.
Plus, you know, he’s starting to walk around in black robes with an ominous John Williams score behind him.
The Oval Office remodeling is finished.
Moving along . . .
What I’ve said in the past remains true, which is until Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do. What I’ve done is to use my prosecutorial discretion, because you can’t enforce the laws across the board for 11 or 12 million people, there aren’t the resources there. What we’ve said is focus on folks who are engaged in criminal activity, focus on people who are engaged in gang activity. Do not focus on young people, who we’re calling DREAMers. . . . That already stretched my administrative capacity very far. But I was confident that that was the right thing to do. But at a certain point the reason that these deportations are taking place is, Congress said, ‘You have to enforce these laws.’ They fund the hiring of officials at the department that’s charged with enforcing. And I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore, you know, any of the other laws that are on the books. (3/16/14)
Paraphrasing something Jonah said on the cruise, the motto of progressives when it comes to political power is that they always run for daylight — whatever avenue to enacting their desired policies is the proper one. If they can get what they want through a referendum, they’ll tout that as the most natural expression of the popular will. If they can get what they want through legislation, they’ll do it legislatively. If they can get what they want through a president’s executive orders, they’ll do it that way. If all of those avenues are blocked, they’ll try to do it through the courts. If none of those work, they’ll do it through bureaucratic regulations.
The silver lining: All of this can be undone by an executive order from the next president. And just as the White House seemed to have no idea of the kind of Republican wave they would experience in the midterms, they are walking around with way too much confidence about the popularity of this move:
Forty-eight percent oppose Obama taking executive action on immigration — which could come as soon as later this week — while 38 percent support it; another 14 percent have no opinion or are unsure.
This decision will get less popular after dominating a news cycle.
If this were really a good idea, Obama would have done it before the election. He knows this is going to invite a backlash, which is why he had to wait.
Republicans an issue that we can use to drive a wedge right down the middle of the Democratic coalition — liberals on one side, unions and African-Americans on the other. While some Republicans want a path to citizenship and some don’t, just about everybody on the Right loathes the idea of the president doing this by fiat. They have a ready-made argument, that President Obama and his allies took action to make life easier for illegal immigrants, while they make life harder for you.
Also note this detail in NBC News poll:
A majority of Americans (56 percent) want Congress to take the lead role in setting policy for the country, versus those who prefer President Obama to do so (33 percent).
. . . 39 percent support creating legal status for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally…
That’s not likely voters, that’s not registered voters; that’s respondents.