Today, a new Congress is being sworn in. Sometimes, though, one wonders what is the point of it all. Per the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
A new immigration policy will make it easier for hundreds of Central Coast families to stay together while spouses and children work to obtain green cards.
The policy, announced Wednesday by the Obama administration and effective March 4, allows immigrants who entered the country illegally to remain in the United States during a waiver process that typically takes up to a year to complete.
The policy shift is the latest in a series of executive changes made by the Obama administration as it seeks broader immigration reforms in the coming year, including a path to citizenship for nearly all the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
On Dec. 21, the president directed officials to stop detaining undocumented immigrants arrested for minor crimes or infractions.
In August, he eased rules for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Since then, more than 300,000 have applied for green cards nationwide. Keegan said his office has submitted applications for the 300 to 400 youths from Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.
If these ever-changing immigration rules are indeed a legitimate use of executive discretion, then perhaps the president might tell us what would not be? Along with most of the American public — not to mention Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution — I was under the distinct impression that immigration law was a federal responsibility and that its provisions were to be determined by the U.S. Congress, and not by the executive branch. If there is scope for the White House to make law after all, then the president might be so good as to delineate clearly what is within his purview and what is not.
Perhaps, he could start by reviewing his notes from the summer of 2011:
President Obama told Hispanics today he is with them on overhauling the nation’s immigration laws — but he won’t use executive orders to alter the law on things such as deportations.
“Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own,” Obama told members of a National Council of La Raza conference who shouted back, “Yes, you can! Yes, you can!”
“That’s not how our democracy functions,” Obama responded. “That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
Obama, locked in a fight with Congress over the federal debt ceiling, joked, “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,” the president said. “That’s not how our system works.”
No, Mr. President. It’s damn well not.