In July of 2011, Obama spoke before the National Council of La Raza. Addressing the demands by Hispanic leaders that he simply grant an administrative amnesty, he said said “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own.” La Raza’s audience broke out in applause and one audience member repeatedly yelled “Yes you can!” While acknowledging “the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting” and “not just on immigration reform,” he told La Raza “that’s not how the system works.” An audience member yelled “change it” but Obama responded “That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.”
In addition to telling us a great deal about how much groups like La Raza respect notions like separation of powers, it was not the first time he insisted that he would not administratively ignore our immigration laws. That March he responded to a question about the idea on Univision, “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case…Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws.” President Obama reiterated this point that June in a speech in Texas, noting “sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how a democracy works.”
A recent report, “President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement” put out by the non-partisan Federation for American Immigration Reform shows that Obama has repeatedly acted in a way that he has said goes against both the Constitution and democratic principles. Obama came into office with a Democratic Supermajority in the Senate and a 37 member majority in the House of Representatives. Despite pushing for amnesty within a month of taking office, he could not get “comprehensive immigration reform” through. Even the lame duck Democratic Congress in 2010 voted down the DREAM Act.
Obama knows that the American people won’t stand for amnesty. Instead, as FAIR’s report details, he has gradually gutted enforcement and has been gradually cutting illegal immigrants loose. The most blatant case occurred last month when, despite his promises to the contrary, Obama enacted the DREAM Act by executive order. Obama’s order does not only applies those who were allegedly brought here as children, but the parents of those who brought illegal aliens.
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