The Corner

Obama’s Made the Case against Executive Amnesty—Repeatedly

President Obama is planning to enact executive amnesty any day, despite a chorus of voices urging him to reconsider. House Speaker John Boehner warns that the White House will “poison the well,” while incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell cautions against “waving a red flag in front of a bull.” Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley even laments that the move will “tear the very fabric of our Constitution.” 

But perhaps the most convincing statements against the legalization of millions without congressional action? They’ve come from the president himself.

President Obama struck a very different tone on executive amnesty as recently as last year, repeatedly pushing back against overzealous immigration activists eager for immediate action. “I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States,” he told one disappointed supporter during a Google Hangout in February 2013. “My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

“If we start broadening [amnesty qualifications], then essentially I would be ignoring the law, in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally,” he told Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart in September 2013. “So that’s not an option.”

The president even shouted down a pro-amnesty heckler at a rally in November 2013. “It is going to require work!” he said. “It is not a matter of us simply saying, ‘We’re going to violate the law.’ That’s not our tradition.”

What a difference a year makes.

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