Checking in from the Athens of the South (with a new and improved Parthenon — now with air conditioning!), so I’m late responding to Obama’s La Raza speech. Most notable was not his “I need a dance partner” comment, but rather the crowd’s response to his protestation that he couldn’t just amnesty all the illegals on his own: “Yes, you can! Yes, you can!” What they were referring to is demands by the open-borders crowd (including the histrionic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who staged another arrest for himself in front of the White House this week) to use the limited discretionary powers, that are an important part of executive authority, to entirely bypass the people’s elected representatives and stage a wholesale administrative amnesty. Despite Obama’s denials, this is clearly the direction the White House is headed.
This is why House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith held a hearing this week on a new piece of legislation, the HALT Act, to suspend until January 2013 the administration’s ability to carry out this sort of quasi-amnesty. My colleague Jessica Vaughan was one of the witnesses, and her testimony briefly outlines the various forms of relief that the bill would suspend. This kind of thing might sound like it’s too far in the weeds for the ordinary reader or blogger, but it’s not that complicated and it’s important to understand some of the details before pontificating (unfortunately, too many people think that since their bubbe from Minsk and their nonna from Palermo went through Ellis Island, they know all they need to know about immigration policy).
Obviously the president wouldn’t sign the bill, assuming it passed the Senate, but it’s an important warning shot from Congress nonetheless.