The Corner

President Orwell Must Act Because ‘the Undocumented Have No Way to Correct Their Immigration Status

The White House has put out a memo about the president’s imminent amnesty speech. (Breitbart’s Matt Boyle learned that the administration leaked it to a friendly pro-amnesty group and wrote about it, here.)

There is more to say about the memo than I have time for right now — I’ll be on The Kelly File tonight to offer analysis of the speech. But the first paragraph is striking in what it conveys about the president’s core assumptions. In it, Obama’s minions claim:

Millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to correct their immigration status under the law.

First, there is nothing incorrect about the way our law defines the illegal immigrants’ status. They are illegal — i.e., their presence in the United States is in defiance of our laws. That is not a mistaken categorization that needs to be corrected, nor is the illegality bleached away by referring to the aliens as “undocumented.” The law is perfectly clear and the aliens are in violation of it. They are not seeking a correction of their status; they are seeking a change in the law. Even if we concede for argument’s sake that the law should be changed, only Congress can do that. President Obama has no power to change the law — and he doesn’t acquire such power by pretending that we are talking about a “correction” rather than newly enacted law.

Second, to claim that the illegal immigrants “want to play by the rules” is absurd. If they want to play by the rules, no one is stopping them. They could leave the country and apply for lawful admission and residence in accordance with the existing rules (under which the United States generously admits more immigrants than any country in the world). The illegal immigrants self-evidently do not want to play by the rules. They want the rules to be changed. Again, you can argue about whether the rules should be changed; but you can’t credibly argue about who has the power to change them — that’s Congress. The president has no such power. 

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