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Immigration: The Latest Example of Obama's Unprecedented Power Grabs

In the wake of the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans were energized. Their perception was that President Obama, in his first two years in the Oval Office, shunned bipartisan cooperation and intentionally aggravated Republicans in an effort to get his progressive policies enacted into law. Now that the GOP had control of some small percentage of the federal government, Obama would have to at least attempt to reach across the aisle.

That's how the argument went. But the reality has fallen far short of that. The Obama Administration has decided that, instead of reforming laws that are on the books, they'd simply not enforce them. From DOMA to the DREAM Act to No Child Left Behind, Obama has used executive power rather than going through Congress.

Politico's Steve Friess has the details:

“We we work to achieve our policy goals in the most effective and appropriate way possible,” the [White House] official said. “Often times Congress has blocked efforts (ie [No Child Left Behind] and DREAM) and we look to pursue other appropriate means of achieving our policy goals.

On gay rights, too, the administration has asked agencies to do less. In February 2011 the Justice Department announced it would not defend DOMA against court challenges — an unusual step for the agency, which typically defends legal challenges to laws on the books.

The tactic has its start in the earliest days of the administration. In October 2009, the DOJ announced it would not prosecute medical marijuana users or suppliers in states where it’s legal, despite the state laws contradicting federal law.

This is a shocking expansion of executive power that Congress-loving progressives used to abhor. It turns out, though, that when the President has a D next to his name, progressives are in favor of unprecedented expansions to executive power.

Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar that Friess quotes, notes that "President Obama has fulfilled the dream of an impreial presidency that Richard Nixon strived for... this is a President who is now functioning as a super legislator." He's right. Progressives should be careful what they wish for. They've cheered President Obama's unilateral power expansions every step of the way - from drone strikes that kill American citizens to recess appointments done without a recess, they should stop to think what would happen if these powers were possessed by "the other side."


Imagine, a legal expert writes, that a Republican president simply announces that his Environmental Protection Agency is going to halt enforcement of pollution regulations. Or that a Republican's IRS isn't going to enforce the Obamacare mandate.

When George W. Bush was in power, progressives were outraged at his expansion of executive power. President Obama has largely kept every executive power that Bush claimed and expanded the executive's power even further.

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