Right out of the box, Obama threw the Republicans and all Americans of a conservative nature a bone when he announced that the first step in his executive action would be to further fund and support the securing of the southern border of the USA. I say threw them a bone because although agents are still down there on the border, their response to illegal immigration has been severely curtailed by this administration. Obama went on to cite the effectiveness of his border policies and the reduction in illegal crossings over the past few months byreferencing skewed deportation statistics. He neglected to mention that this administration changed how it accounts for deportation, or how the emphasis on border control by Texas law enforcement likely contributed heavily to any real reduction in crossings.
In his second point, the President stated that he is going to make it easier for those talented non-citizens with advanced degrees who are here (and may have overstayed their visas) to remain here so that America can capture that talent for the long-term. Once again, Obama is tossing a bone to corporate America in the hope of broadening support for his actions. Visas are expensive—maybe a bit too expensive for the average individual—but now the American taxpayer will foot the bill for corporate America to expand its catalogue of talent, and competition for jobs for which Americans are qualified will increase. There are beneficiaries here but the number is miniscule in comparison to the number of those hurt by the President’s executive action.
Finally, in his third point, the President got around to what he really wants to do. He wants to “free the illegals,” who have been hiding here in America for many years, from the shadows. As I listened to Obama, it was clear that he was making a strong effort to paint these people as victims of America in order to justify his unilateral action on their behalf. Let us be clear here : they came here “illegally” by their own choosing. They made a choice, they knowingly broke our laws, and now Mr. Obama wants to make all that go away with a wave of his presidential pen—even though we have laws to the contrary which he is selectively not enforcing as President. Many of these people have been here for at least five years and others for more than ten. Why? Because we have not enforced our existing laws.
Obama says that our current immigration system is “broken,” and that everyone agrees that it is broken. The only reason it is broken is because our laws have not been enforced for a long period of time, and now we have an profusion of illegal people as a consequence. During his first two years in office, while Democrats controlled the Senate and the House, Obama had every opportunity to fix the problem but he ignored it, choosing instead to pursue ObamaCare—more bang for the buck! Then, when he no longer owned the House, he had Senator Harry Reid hi-jack all the immigration bills coming from the House and never let them see a floor vote. In this fashion, he was able to blame the inaction on immigration on the Republicans—a total factual distortion.
Some on the Left argue that President Obama is perfectly within his jurisdiction under the Constitution to take these executive actions. They frame the explanation by saying that Obama is simply “prioritizing” the existing laws and deciding which ones he can afford to enforce with the funds that are available. In other words, our government is currently paying employees who were specifically hired to identify and round up the illegal immigrants and deport them to not do their jobs. Obama hinted that the task is now so monumental that it is not worth pursuing from either a practical or economic standpoint—but let’s not do away with anyone’s job!
This particular argument by those on the Left does not hold water for this very reason : We still have laws on the books which address the President’s ability to selectively priortize the allocation of funds, but he does not have the power to selectively change laws or change the consequences of violating said laws. In taking these executive actions, Obama is in fact making a de facto change of the existing law—a power which he does not possess as President. In this regard, both Congress and the Judicial Branch, having sworn to uphold the Constitution, are compelled to take action to stop this effort by the Executive Branch. This is the very reason that our founders created the separation of powers under the Constitution.
The Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, has indicated that he would likely pursue legal action depending on what the President attempts with his executive order. In addition, Greg Abbott, the current Attorney General and Governor-Elect of Texas, has indicated that the State of Texas will pursue any legal means to fend off this action by Obama. While legal action is certainly an avenue, the end result of such action may be years in coming about—long after Obama has left office (assuming he does not declare himself “ruler”). The other option, at least at the Congressional level, is to pursue the “power of the purse”—a power set aside exclusively for Congress (House of Representatives). By using this legislative power, Congress could selectively deprive the executive action of the necessary funds for implementation. The question here then becomes, how much revenue is necessary to fund Obama’s action? The answer to that has not been forthcoming from either the White House or Congress. Regardless, Congress does have the power to hold back those funds. The real question is: Does the RINO Republican leadership have the guts to use that power?
There is no doubt that the American public is very concerned with regard to these executive actions by the President. Their concerns cover a broad range, but a majority do not believe that these actions will improve the economy, wages, or job availability for the existing citizens of this nation. For most, this move on the part of Obama is a “political choice” that will further divide the country and potentially dilute the voter base downstream. Many also view it as a “first step” whereby our rogue president is testing the waters for more bold actions if he is allowed to get away with it. With almost two years remaining in office, the ball is in the Republicans’ court. Much of America is waiting to see if they have the fortitude and leadership to step up and do the right thing to uphold and save our Constitutional system.
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