Thankfully, America has prospered through the ups and downs of our inspiring history because of our God-given rights, the character and innovation of our people, and the restraints and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. Justice is never perfect and life is never totally fair, but we strive to preserve both.
The dangers of an overly oppressive government and tyrannical leaders was evident to Thomas Jefferson when he warned: “The two enemies of the government are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become a legalized version of the first.”
So as noble or compassionate as any “end” may be, circumventing the Constitution to bring about even a desired change is dangerous. Political change in America has always been difficult. Changes require patient negotiation. Citizens must be sold, and Congressional stakeholders must be influenced. That’s why there are so few Constitutional amendments. Operating under the rule of law can be frustrating and progress slow. But transformational changes are to be earned not announced by fiat by self-proclaimed “benevolent” dictators.
President Obama didn’t always claim he had the legal authority to alter America’s immigration policy without Congressional approval. Here’s a sample of his denials:
“I know that some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own, but that’s not how our system works.”
“The notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.”
“For me just through executive order to ignore those Congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.”
“The problem is that I’m the President of the United States not the Emperor of the United States.”
In spite of a landslide defeat in the November election giving control of both the Senate and House to the GOP, President Obama decided playing emperor was now necessary and “Constitutional.” Even with polls finding little support for change by executive action, “Emperor” Obama concluded that the ends justified the means, no matter how unconstitutional.
He claimed that Presidents Reagan and Bush had used the same executive authority. But theWall Street Journal noted: “The Reagan and Bush precedents cited by the Obama lawyers are different in kind and degree. They involved far fewer people and they were intended to fulfill the policy set by Congress – not, as Mr. Obama intends, to defy Congress.”
“Emperor” Obama scolded House Republicans for not giving an up-or-down vote on the comprehensive Immigration Bill passed by the Senate but made no mention of the House-passed border security first bills that the Senate refused to bring to a vote. He even had the audacity to challenge Congress to pass legislation he could sign that would replace his unconstitutional executive order.
Why has there been no progress in negotiating comprehensive immigration reform with this president? President Obama does not honor the laws passed. With the controversial Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Boehner noted over 30 different changes Obama has made to the law without congressional approval.
The House has sued the Obama administration in federal court zeroing on two glaring changes instituted without Congressional approval-- The one-year delay in the employer mandate and the transfer of billions of dollars to insurance companies to minimize their losses.
There’s nothing to stop this president from enacting only the provisions he wants from any comprehensive immigration law. Border security and immigration policy are too important to allow one man to work his will.
The President does have authority to prioritize those who are deported first. He has no legal authority to provide work permits to illegal immigrants without Congressional action.
Many of the policies enacted by the President may rightfully be included in future immigration laws, but Congress must first protect our Constitution and the rule of law. To fund this unconstitutional executive action would be illegal and make Congress complicit. It’s time to choose-Emperor Obama or the Constitution.