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ICYMI: 20 Times Obama Made the Case Against His Own Executive Actions on Immigration

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas this week, the case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which would protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. But if we take a trip down memory lane, it seems President Obama has already made the case against his immigration actions on more than one occasion.


Let’s take a look:

1.    May 5, 2010: “Anybody who tells you … I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn't been paying attention to how this town works.”

2.    July 1, 2010: “[T]here are those … who have argued passionately that we should … at least ignore the laws on the books... I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair...This could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.”

3.    October 25, 2010“I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself.”

4.    March 28, 2011: “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law.”

5.    April 20, 2011: “I can't solve this problem by myself. … I can't do it by myself.” 

6.    April 29, 2011: “Some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how democracy works”

7.    May 10, 2011: “They wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how a democracy works.”

8.    July 25, 2011: “The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. … But that's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.”

9.    September 28, 2011:  "I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not True. We are doing everything we can administratively.

10. September 28, 2011: “We live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.”

11. September 20, 2012: “What I’ve always said is, as the head of the executive branch, there’s a limit to what I can do.”

12. October 16, 2012: “But we're also a nation of laws. … And I've done everything that I can on my own...”

13. January 30, 2013: “I'm not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I'm required to follow the law.”

14. January 30, 2013: “I’m not a king. You know, my job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law.”

15. February 14, 2013“The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States.”

16. July 16, 2013: “I think that it is very important for us to recognize that the way to solve this problem has to be legislative.”

17. September 17, 2013“My job in the executive branch is supposed to be to carry out the laws that are passed. … But if we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law…”

18. November 25, 2013“If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we're also a nation of laws … The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. … That’s not our tradition.”

19. March 6, 2014: “And I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore … any of the other laws that are on the books.”

20. August 6, 2014:“I’m bound by the Constitution; I’m bound by separation of powers.”


Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, who spearheaded the lawsuit against the government that 25 other states joined on to, said on Thursday that the case may be framed under immigration, but it’s really about presidential power.

“The lawsuit is about the fact that the president completely abandoned the Constitution, assumed power he does not have, and wrote law,” Abott said during a roundtable discussion at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “The lawsuit is about the fact that if the president wins this lawsuit, the Constitution as we know it has been completely rewritten and Congress no longer has any authority.”

A decision in the case is expected some time before the end of June. 

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