Barack Obama’s inexplicable inability—or unwillingness—to learn what his job is and how to do it properly has reached a terrible crescendo in his Executive Order on illegal immigration. You can read the likely details here; the details don’t matter. The order itself guarantees chaos on more fronts that any Presidential act in memory, and more institutional damage over the long term. There is literally no excuse for it, but the explanations are clear. Obama painted himself into a political corner because he does not know how to do his job. He has set a precedent that will invite far more abuse, in real terms, than the order at issue now, guaranteeing a Constitutional crisis, and perhaps many—because he does not know how to do his job. Having pledged to bring the country together, he has taken a needless and gratuitous step that will divide the nation further—-because he does not know how to do his job. And he has all but guaranteed that the next two years will be marked by more poisonous partisanship in Washington and outright warfare between the parties and the branches of the government, further discouraging citizens and reducing trust in the American system to a dangerous level because…well, you know.
Let me discard the inevitable justification for this action at the outset, the rationalization given by Obama himself: He is taking action on immigration because the system is broken and Congress won’t fix it. The decisive rebuttal: tough. That’s the system. The President agreed to be part of it when he ran for office. Laws must be made by Congress and signed and enforced by the President. There are no exceptions in the Constitution waiving this system when the President is really, really sure he knows best, or when the President is really, really frustrated because he wants his way but doesn’t want to do the dirty work of schmoozing, horse-trading, building alliances, collecting I.O.U.’s , bluffing, getting half a loaf, compromising, angering his “base” know that they have nowhere to go, and agreeing to measures or he hates in order to get some he wants, or when he’s made promises he shouldn’t have made. As Obama himself once said, he can’t act like an emperor, because that’s not the system the Founders decided on. Obama has proven that he can’t act like a President, however, so now he’s giving emperor a try. Mind-boggling is the best description I can come up with right now.
Obama, among other reasons, is in the midst of this fiasco because he backed himself into a corner with the Hispanic activists in his party. Again, this is evidence of a flat learning curve. He has trapped himself repeatedly—by drawing a “red line” in Syria, by promising what his health care plan couldn’t deliver, by sending empty threats to Putin, by guaranteeing that he will not send ground troops in to fight Isis. It makes him and America look weak; it results in bad policies and late implementation of needed measures, and diminishes his stature and trustworthiness. Never mind: Obama seems to be the only one who hasn’t noticed. So now he is forced to follow through on a measure of dubious constitutional validity that will make it look as if he is choosing the welfare of lawbreakers over the convictions of a majority of the legal citizens in the country.
What a wonderful plan.
His method is also one we have seen before: dishonesty. The order is being justified as “prosecutorial discretion’…you know, like the bombing of Libya wasn’t hostilities under the statute requiring Congressional approval, like the authorization for the Iraq invasion in 2002 was still sufficient to constitute approval of bombing Isis, and like the unilateral amending of the Affordable Care Act was just administrative action. Obama has achieved a Bizarro World integrity by consistently showing no integrity at all.
All of this, mind you, to guarantee no deportation of people who were not going to be deported, to assure work papers for those already working, and to make the ethically incoherent statement that the longer an illegal immigrant breaks the law by staying here, the less illegal he should be, and the more children she dumps into the care of Nanny Sam, the more the nation should embrace the family.
I agree with Obama regarding the need to give the illegals who we have allowed to stay here too long some way to achieve legal status. I agree that Republican opposition is a dead end rooted in rejection of facts over the embrace of impractical idealism. His job, however, is to solve the problem under the system, make it palatable to the public, and not blow up the political system in the service of people who showed no respect for the system in coming here.
Obama, however, doesn’t know how todo his job.
And he’s obviously never going to learn.
45 thoughts on “Obama’s Immigration Order: The Ultimate Leadership Flatline”
I’m worried This worries me like nothing else. I see the possibility of open rebellion on the horizon, and violence. I pray that doesn’t happen, because it could be more horrific than anything in this country’s history,. This has real potential to bankrupt us in short order, because it’s not going to stop at 5 million or so (will the last person in Mexico please turn out the lights?). This is scary. I’m getting close to the point of wanting out of here with my family.
I think you’re giving the man way too much credit, and underestimating him,by saying he’s merely incompetent. Try framing all of the negative fallout from his presidency as being by design, just as a thought experiment, and see if it all comes into focus. Have you ever read his books? Better yet, have you ever read Charley Reese’s final editorial for the Orlando Sentinel?
I have friends who 30 years later are still paying the price for the ’86 amnesty – I already paid mine, thank you. I wonder how many people (I know, legal immigrants are not people according to the Democrats) 30 years down the road will be screwed by this.
Obama is unassailably competent, if you count him a subversive.
I, for one, do. I picture him saying “what do I have to do to piss these people off”?
Horse, stable door etc.
Just the GOP ones…
Pres. Dwight Eisenhower:
1956 By executive order, circumvented immigration quotas to allow 900 orphans to join their adoptive families in the U.S.
1956-1958 By executive order, allowed 31,000 Hungarian anti-Soviet insurgents to emigrate.
1959-72 By executive order, allowed 600,000 Cubans fleeing Castro to emigrate.
Pres. Gerald Ford:
1975 By executive order, allowed 360,000 refugees, mostly from from Vietnam, to emigrate.
1976 By executive order, allowed 14,000 Lebanese nationals to emigrate.
Pres. Ronald Reagan:
1981 By executive order, allowed 7,000 Polish anti-Communists to emigrate.
1982 Allowed 15,000-plus Ethiopians to emigrate.
1987 By executive order, rescinded deportation of 200,000 Nicaraguans.
1987 By executive order, deferred deportation of undocumented children of 100,000 families.
George H.W. Bush:
1989 By executive order, deferred deportations of Chinese students.
1989 By executive order, reversed visa denials of 7,000 Soviets, Indochinese.
1990 By executive order, deferred deporations of previously amnestied citizens’ 1.5 million spouses and children.
1991 By executive order, deferred deportation of 2,000 Gulf War evacuees.
1992 By executive order, deferred deportations of 190,000 El Salvadorans.
George W. Bush:
2002 By executive order, expedited naturalization for green-card holders who joined military.
2005 By executive order, deferred deportation of students affected by Hurricane Katrina.
2006 By executive order, enabled 1,500 Cuban physicians to seek asylum at US embassies.
2007 By executive order, deferred deportation of 3,600 Liberians.
What do you imagine that this list proves? How is this not just noise with respect to Jack’s post?
You look, and not only are those numbers NOT numbered in the millions, they are very specific in scope. They apply to small groups, nearly all whom are facing deportment to war-torn or despotic regimes. They’re individual cases, determined by the leader of the government as exceptions – as is provided by the laws. What they are not is grand hand-waving excusals of the law itself.
I want to know what happens when congress passes a law, the president vetos it, congress overrides the veto – and then the president refuses to put it into effect?
Not seeing it. Most of these seem perfectly reasonable, and roughly half of them are examples of sheltering those persecuted by totalitarian governments or ideological enemies…
I agree that most are reasonable. Some were urgent.
But Congress dropped the ball on them.
My contention is that this, as with previous times, is not blowing up the political system, but a part of it.
Bypassing the political system is, by definition, nor part of it. Note also that Obama had majorities of both Houses of Congress at his disposal for two years, and we didn’t hear a peep about illegal immigration. He is, in my view, estopped from claiming that the system didn’t work in this matter, when it was within his power to make it work the way it was designed to, and he chose to duck the opportunity.
You are smart enough, I think, to see what the distinction is between these and the Obama order. Hint: in none of the cases were lawbreakers rewarded for breaking the law. Executive orders are designed to deal with the inevitable weaknesses of all laws: situations will always come up where they don’t work as they were intended to. Most of these you mention were refugee situations based on a specific crisis or event not anticipated in the applicable law. The plight of illegal immigrants, in contrast, is exactly what the illegal immigrants bargained for, asked for, and got when they crossed the border illegally.
You don’t usually swallow disingenuous and deceitful talking points. Why this time?
Holy shit! Either you’ve just kindled a very interesting thread, or you completely shut it down. Going to cook up some popcorn for this one!
Sounds like simply being a Democrat, these points have been making their way around the net word for word and number for number, even though it’s a clear “someone else did it, so it’s ok” dodge at the simplest, and maybe not even that since it’s really apples and oranges.
This list comes from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report prior to the 2012 immigration action:
Click to access Deferred-Action-Congressional-Research-Service-Report.pdf
Please note other language in that report:
‘most of these discretionary deferrals have been done on a country-specific basis, usually in response to war, civil unrest, or natural disasters. In many of these instances, Congress was considering legislative remedies for the affected groups, but had not yet enacted immigration relief for them.’
‘ A separate constitutional argument may be forwarded, however, in situations where the executive branch has, in effect, broadly refused to enforce a duly enacted statute by implementing a
blanket ban on enforcement such that the agency has “expressly adopted a general policy which is in effect an abdication of its statutory duty.”
By refusing to fully enforce certain aspects of a statutory provision, such an action may exceed the permissible scope of prosecutorial discretion and violate the President’s duty that the “laws be faithfully executed’
‘Limitations on the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion –
While the executive branch’s prosecutorial discretion is broad, it is not “unfettered,”and has traditionally been exercised pursuant to individualized determinations. Thus, an argument could potentially be made that the permissible scope of prosecutorial or enforcement discretion is exceeded
where an agency utilizes its discretion to adopt a broad policy of non-enforcement as to particular populations in an effort to prioritize goals and maximize limited resources. It would appear, especially
with respect to agency enforcement actions, that the invocation of prosecutorial discretion does not create an absolute shelter from judicial review, but rather is subject to both statutory and constitutional
Your list, without the background information or relevant legal principles, provides smoke, but no fire.
Awesome! Thread’s time of death: 10:37
Tee hee. I appreciate your optimism.
I’ve mentioned it before and it’s worth mentioning here again – Mexican immigration (and other than some exceptions, the issue facing us right now IS Mexican immigration) represents and requires a WHOLE SEPARATE calculus in deciding what is healthy for the nation and what isn’t. From a geopolitical and strategic point of view it is different. Mexicans DO NOT face the same assimilation pressures that other historic waves of immigrants had to face – that is cut off by several thousand miles from their originating cultures – they had to become American. Mexicans face no such pressure, they are often times, merely a day or two trip from home (with little expense). They can easily maintain loyalties to their home base as well as gain material support from their home base as well.
This presents a considerably different concern to us. By analogy, I would say: The Roman empire is less concerned assimilating 10,000 Chinese immigrants when the core of 10,000,000 Chinese is 5,000 miles away than they are concerned with assimilating 10,000 Huns, when another 100,000 is just a mile across the river…
I’ll add nothing to the debunking of the list you proposed, which quietly is an “everybody does it” attempt, but logically has been shown to be fairly unrelated to the current issue as several substantive replies have shown.
Aren’t you forgetting one small detail, Zoe. Those previous actions were done with the approval of Congress and were mostly in reaction to an immediate need. Obama’s action in unilateral and in the face of a majority opposition from both Congress and the nation. It’s also in response to a situation that he himself fostered and that his party has made its policy for quite some time.
I still don’t understand what the consequences might be? Revolution???
Before revolution, which is a possibility, there will be chaos and overwhelming of all the systems of government. That has already happened and it will get worse.
I’m halfway assuming you’re asking sarcastically, if you aren’t you must not be paying attention.
Exactly that is the Obama (and acolytes) specific plan. Overwhelm the system and fundamentally change everything.
In my own experience in CA, CT and FL, there is a large majority of these “immigrants” who are no such thing. They come alone, live 10-20 in apartments and houses, work off the books and send most of what they make back “home” to family, where they will go when they’ve earned enough. They do not contribute to the economy, do not pay taxes and actually export any wealth they accumulate to their home countries. My opinion is that they are a substantial portion of the South American illegals.
Insolvency, a government-dependent class, and a more or less one-party system of corrupt, pandering, lawyer-politicians. See Detroit.
Aw hell. No need to go all the way to Detroit. See Washington D.C.
See Chicago, murder capital of the country.
Well, at least the Death Star (D.C.) doesn’t look and feel like Mogadishu yet.
I think Judge Napolitano hit the nail on the head last night. It’s one thing for an authority’s chief legal officer to make certain specific exceptions to the way he will enforce a law. When, however, he decides to either ignore the law or essentially rewrite the law by making an exception that exempts half the people affected, then we have a failure to do his sworn duty.
Exactly. I hate to agree with the judge on anything, but on this, he’s correct.
I’d be interested to know what someone like you, whose opinion I very much respect, thinks of him, especially considering that you’ve spent so much time in his profession.
Love that guy! I’ve often thought that there would be no better time for him to run for president than 2016, after America gets a nauseating bellyful of Obama. After this, I have little doubt. Obama isn’t changing course at all. If Hillary gets into office, I’m out of here!
I’m starting to think this is a honey pot for criticism in an attempt to cover for other, more embarrassing news. Both of these came out in the news yesterday.
http://humanevents.com/2014/11/20/fast-and-furious-white-house-doj-targeted-sharyl-attkisson/ Obama’s people explicitly targeted a Sharyl Attkison and worked with her editors to suppress her reporting because it embarrassed Eric Holder. It lends credence to claims that the government really was hacking her computer. Being crazy on one area (anti-vaccination) apparently doesn’t mean she was just being paranoid about the government going after her.
Or there’s this. http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/11/20/kiah-lawson-terry-bean-human-rights-campaign-gay-sex-obama-prison-column/70021560/ Having a big time donor and gay marriage advocate arrested for statutory rape will undermine democrats in the polls if widely reported. Guilt by association may be technically invalid, but I think it would affect public opinion more negatively than the immigration story.
Got a question: after a brief perusal, skim, actually, of the Constitution, I am unable to find a section or amendment granting the Chief Executive the authority or right to make Executive Orders. I’m sure it’s there or it’
s statutory, one but can somebody tell me where?
This question derives mostly from the hype built up around executive orders. There is a great myth built up overtime by opponents of sitting presidents, by the media, and to an extent by President Obama himself. This myth is that Executive Orders somehow create legislation and new law or overrules existing law. They don’t. They never have and they never will (until a true constitutional crisis arises).
An executive order, simply, is an order directing specified executive departments to take actions pertaining to certain laws in support of and limited by those laws. The dark side of these is that they can direct specific actions to ignore enforcement of the laws. In some instances, such as zoebrain’s list, this may be ethically justifiable.
In truly egregious cases of an EO directing ignoring the law, then in a pure country, further legislation compelling enforcement or censuring the president would be called for, followed by articles of impeachment if he doesn’t comply.
It gets iffy when an EO directs such a wholesale ignoring the law that it basically is a de facto veto. That would be a true constitutional crisis.
But yes, Executive Orders are constitutional as a concept… Specific ones, by their objective, could be.
Gracias, Tex. That was largely my feeling, but I couldn’t find any legal basis for it. I’ve always thought that EO’s were sort of like our Mayor renaming a street for a couple of days for a local hero or something like that. I suspect that an EO directing outright ignoring or wholesale re-writing of a law, as you said, would generate a Constitutional crises.
The only instance it should rise to constitutional crisis is if a president were unimpeachable.
And I completely forgot to add the whole “gun reform” executive order that was much hyped as new action independent of the legislature. Turned out it was a list that reiterated laws already on the books or directed various agencies to conduct studies and make reports that had no actionable results.
Last night’s EO was in the form of “don’t enforce this law”. Does it fall in the exception category or the egregious flaunting of the law category? Hm.
And to keep adding clarifications as I think of them. Arg.
If there really is an EO that looks like the President is making new laws or regulations but it turns out he’s acting within a law that was specifically written to allow him a wide berth in maki regulations, then the fault doesn’t lie with the president but with the lawmakers who surrendered their authority via a foolishly written law.
(This will be the source of other constitutional crises to come)
Should say: “specific ones, by their objective, could be unconstitutional.”
All that I have to say is, that in the same way Americans want “illegals” to speak the language of the land, I kindly ask you to play by your own rules, and speak Spanish while in Mexico, and stop expecting to be waited on in English while being in Mexican territory. Mexicans in Mexico are in NO obligation to speak to you in English. They are in Mexico. You, too. bp.
You can’t possibly be this much of an idiot. If someone lives in the US, they should speak the language of the US. If they are visiting, there is no such obligation. And get the scare quotes off of “illegals”—they are here illegally, hence they are illegals, or illegal immigrants. Unless you prefer “wetbacks,’ which I think is needlessly rude.
I do. On those rare occasions in which I actually take my life in my hands and go south of the border.
Professor Blackmun has a fascinating analysis of the Justice Department’s legal memo justifying the executive action’s legality here.