President Obama’s decision last week to bypass lawmakers and grant de facto amnesty to as many as 1.4 million illegal aliens is, without question, the most egregious example of election year pandering we’ve seen in awhile.
Mr. Obama, ironically a former constitutional law professor, issued the sweeping order to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants under 30 years of age who were brought to the United States before age 16. He did it with the stroke of a pen, and without a vote of the Congress.
But what is perhaps more ironic is that just a year ago Mr. Obama himself said that such a move was well beyond the scope of his presidential authority.
Last March, during a televised town hall on Univision, the Panderer-in-Chief told those in attendance, “With respect to the notion that I could suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed.”
Mr. Obama didn’t stop there, adding, “[W]e’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws and then the judiciary has to interpret the law…for me to simply through executive order ignore those Congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.” (The President’s answer begins at about the one minute mark)
We’re not sure what happened between March 2011 and last Friday to facilitate Mr. Obama’s change of heart on the matter, but we suspect it had something to do with his slipping poll numbers and dimming electoral prospects. And we’re not alone in our cynical outlook.
“He made a promise to give us a diamond ring, and after three-and-a-half years of waiting, and seeing that we were falling out of love with him, he showed up with a cubic zirconium,” Miami-based political consultant Ana Navarro told NPR.
Even those in support of the policy have questioned why the President didn’t direct his rubber stamp, filibuster proof Democratic Congress to hold a vote on the issue during the first two years of his term. And why, if he thought he could simply provide amnesty with the stroke of a pen, he didn’t take the unprecedented step sooner – or broaden the universe of illegal aliens covered by the order.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party operatives and left-leaning media outlets have altogether dismissed the very valid process arguments put forth by opponents of the move (a camp which, as we noted earlier, actually included Mr. Obama as late as last March).
A gushing Denver Post editorial, for example, sneered that Mr. Obama’s order “elicited predictable howls of protest from…members of Congress who think the White House is doing an end run around their authority,” adding that “The president’s policy giving young illegal immigrants a legal right to work is a step in the right direction.”
We wonder, would the radical left be as charitable to a GOP president who, citing high fuel prices or a lack of adequate enforcement resources, instructed his Interior Department not to enforce prohibitions on drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Somehow, we doubt it.
Reasonable people can, and do, disagree on how best to address this very complex issue. And it goes without saying that settling on a fair and equitable solution to the illegal immigration crisis gripping the United States, including the vexing problem of how to deal with the 12 to 20 illegal aliens already here, is not a simple matter. But Americans deserve better than the kind of Third World, ends-justify-the-means approach that Mr. Obama’s unilateral, undemocratic and we believe unconstitutional executive order embodies.
We are nation of laws. And last time we checked, the president doesn’t get to change longstanding laws by himself just because he’s worried about getting re-elected.