Category Archives: Immigration

A Misbegotten Showdown on Immigration

I appreciate the commitment to principle, but will Republican’s really fail to take advantage of their majority [again]?
By Jason L. Riley
March 3, 2015 7:12 p.m. ET

Leave it to Republicans to do the right thing after exhausting all other options.

Speaker John Boehner announced Tuesday that the House would vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security, even though some members of his caucus thought Republicans could withhold funding to protest President Obama ’s immigration policies and not pay a price politically. They were kidding themselves. Republicans may control both chambers of Congress, but their political opponents still control the news media.

The DHS drama has played out just as President Obama hoped it would when he moved unilaterally in November to protect some five million illegal immigrants from deportation. He knew that Republicans would turn on one another, that his liberal friends in the Fourth Estate would play up the party division and that the GOP would be cast as anti-immigrant villains. The same conservatives who like to mock the president’s intelligence are making him look like a genius.

A group of about 50 Republicans in the House insisted that a showdown over DHS funding would be a political winner for the party. But they never had the votes in the Senate to force Mr. Obama’s hand, and nothing in his history as president suggests that he would otherwise reverse course. Whether the issue is net neutrality, Common Core education standards or cutting a nuclear deal with Iran, this is a White House that has had little use for the legislative branch. Even when Mr. Obama has deigned to go through Congress, as he did with ObamaCare, he later selectively enforces his own laws.

Republican lawmakers are understandably frustrated at Mr. Obama’s immigration end-run, but as Mr. Boehner told his caucus this week, the place to push back is the courtroom, where a federal judge has stayed the order. “The good news is that the president’s executive action has been stopped, for now,” said the speaker in a closed-door meeting, according to Politico. “This matter will continue to be litigated in the courts, where we have our best chance of winning this fight.”

The reality is that President Obama will be in office for two more years. If Republicans want to show voters they can govern and deserve the presidency in 2016, they ought to pick fights that they can win. At some point, the party also will have to acknowledge that it has an image problem with Hispanic voters that these public spats only exacerbate. Threatening to partially shut down an agency responsible for the safety of the homeland at a time when Islamic terrorists are recruiting in Brooklyn and threatening to blow up malls in Minnesota might be a sign that some Republicans have been driven to distraction over the immigration issue.

The Hispanic voting bloc is large and growing fast—not because of immigration but due to higher birthrates among Latinos already here. Sealing the border will not alter this demographic trend, nor will making a fetish of demonizing millions of economic migrants who are here illegally. Lawmakers who are fed up with illicit border crossings should focus on fixing the legal-immigration system, which will give people an incentive to use it. Part of Mr. Boehner’s problem is that some of his colleagues want the issue, not a solution.

Another reason that Mr. Obama was unlikely to bend to the restrictionists is that most of the country supports his goal—though not his tactics—of ultimately granting legal status to most undocumented aliens. A Pew poll taken shortly after the president issued his immigration order put support for it at just 46%, which is one reason he waited until after the midterm elections to act. But the same poll reported that 70% of Americans, including 53% of Republicans, said illegal immigrants in the U.S. “should have a way to stay in the country legally.”

A Fox News survey taken last year found even stronger Republican support for legalization. When asked if the U.S. should “allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, but only if they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check,” 68% of all respondents and 60% of Republican respondents said yes.

Despite efforts to scapegoat illegal immigrants for everything from crime to unemployment to health-care costs, polls have consistently showed that most Americans, regardless of party affiliation, back comprehensive immigration reform that includes some form of conditional amnesty. The fact that immigration hard-liners and talk-radio hosts don’t even speak for most Republicans on immigration is not something you read about very often, but it’s yet another example of a liberal press corps determined to make the GOP look bad.

Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).


I, Barack – WSJ

He can only “work across the aisle” if he gets all of what he wants. It speak volumes that the Democrat party does nothing to check him.
Updated Nov. 20, 2014 10:14 p.m.

President Obama ’s decision to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants by his own decree is a sorry day for America’s republic. We say that even though we agree with the cause of immigration reform. But process matters to self-government—sometimes it is the only barrier to tyranny—and Mr. Obama’s policy by executive order is tearing at the fabric of national consent.

The first question to address is Mr. Obama’s legal rationale. At least he finally rolled out a memo from the experts on presidential power in the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, but it’s fair to wonder how much time he gave them. The OLC made its justification public about an hour before the speech.

The President’s rationale is “prosecutorial discretion,” but he is stretching that legal concept beyond normal understanding. The executive branch does have discretion about whom to prosecute. But this typically extends to individual cases, or to setting priorities due to limited resources such as prosecuting cocaine but not marijuana use.

Mr. Obama claims he is using his discretion to focus on such high deportation priorities as criminals, but he is going much further and is issuing an order exempting from deportation entire classes of people—as many as five million. Justice’s OLC memo claims there is no such categorical exemption, and that immigration officials can still deport someone if they want to, but the memo offers no measures by which to make that “complex judgment.” In practice it will almost never happen.

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. That is why their actions were done with little controversy.

Mr. Obama is issuing his order amid furious political opposition and after his own multiple previous declarations that he lacks legal authority. “If we start broadening that [his 2012 order for undocumented children], then essentially I’ll be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally,” Mr. Obama said on Telemundo in September 2013. Until now.

While we favor generous immigration, Mr. Obama’s order also fails as policy because it won’t reduce the economic incentive that drives illegal immigration. The only way to reduce the flow of illegal migrants is to offer enough legal ways to work in the U.S. and then return home.

His unilateral order will encourage more migrants to come in hope of a future amnesty, without matching the ebb and flow of migration to America’s changing labor market demands. His order also offers no prospect of future citizenship, creating a laboring class with less of a stake in American institutions—and less incentive to assimilate.

The politics of immigration is already fraught, and Mr. Obama’s order will make it worse. He is empowering the most extreme anti-immigrant voices on the Republican right, which may be part of his political calculation.

Mr. Obama wants Democrats to get political credit with Hispanics for legalization, while goading the GOP into again becoming the deportation party in 2016. Hillary Clinton would love that, which explains why Bill Clinton is already backing Mr. Obama’s order. Mark this down as one more way in which this President has become the Great Polarizer.

How should Republicans respond? They can use their own constitutional powers without falling into Mr. Obama’s political trap. Impeachment is a fool’s errand that would change the political subject and fail. The power of the purse is an obvious tool now that the GOP will soon control the Senate, but that will require patience and unity to prevail over Mr. Obama’s vetoes.

The best GOP revenge would be to trump him on immigration. Before Mr. Obama’s decree, smart Republicans were discussing a legislative strategy focusing on piecemeal immigration reforms. Separate bills addressing individual problems (border security, agriculture and tech visas) could pass with rotating majorities that show the GOP has immigration solutions of its own. Some bills might get to Mr. Obama’s desk, forcing him to reveal his cynical political hand if he uses his veto to block durable reform.

We realize this won’t be easy, especially as many on the anti-immigrant right will want an immediate strategy to defund the President’s order. But another Pickett’s charge up Shutdown Hill is exactly what Mr. Obama wants. Republicans need to keep the focus on Mr. Obama’s abuse of power while showing voters they have better immigration solutions.

The polls show the American people are uneasy about Mr. Obama’s unilateral law-making, and liberals should be too. Mr. Obama is setting a precedent that Republican Presidents could also use to overcome a Democratic majority. How about an order to the IRS not to collect capital-gains taxes on inflated gains from property held for more than a decade? That policy would be broadly popular and also address a basic lack of fairness.

Mr. Obama’s rule-by-regulation has already been rebuked more than once by the Supreme Court. His “I, Barack” immigration decree is another abuse that will roil American politics and erode public confidence in the basic precepts of self-government.
I, Barack – WSJ.


Obama To Stretch Scope Of Executive??

I would be surprised if Obama didn’t ‘go for broke’ on this one.
By the end of the summer, President Barack Obama will make what some activists and legal experts say could be the “boldest move” of his presidency as he prepares to move without Congress on immigration reform.

The coming executive actions to change immigration policy could become the defining moment in a second term marred by congressional gridlock. A mid fierce debate over the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border they also could set up a potential political firestorm just weeks before the crucial midterm elections. Perhaps most importantly, Obama’s coming executive actions could also test the limits of presidential power.

“Depending on how far they go, yes,” David Martin, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law who specializes in immigration law, told Business Insider. “It could be a significant challenge to the scope of presidential power.”

The White House has provided few hints on what Obama will do on immigration as a review by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security on his options is still ongoing. The Washington Post has reported, based on readouts of meetings among White House officials, congressional Democrats, and activist groups, that Obama could effectively expand the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA, as it is known, has shielded hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation .

According to the Washington Post report, the Obama administration is considering providing ” temporary relief for law-abiding undocumented immigrants who are closely related to U.S. citizens or those who have lived in the country a certain number of years.” The number of people who could fit under those descriptions might be as high as five million.

“We’re asking the president to really go as broad as he can go,” Cristina Jimenez, the cofounder and managing director of the group United We Dream, told Business Insider, adding: “He has a chance to make one of the boldest moves he possibly could. It depends on how he wants to be remembered.”

United We Dream was one of a few groups that gave up rather early on the idea Congress would pass any sort of legislative reform to the nation’s immigration policy. The group stopped lobbying Congress on the issue long before House Speaker John Boehner informed Obama in late June that the House would not take up any immigration-related legislation this year.

Jimenez said United We Dream then made Obama its “primary target,” because he has the authority to enforce the law. As most proponents of immigration reform see it, Obama’s options for executive actions fit into two categories, as laid out earlier this year by the left-leaning Center for American Progress:

“Enforcement reforms” — in which, for example, the administration would choose to place a lower priority on undocumented immigrants who do not have a criminal history or who have extensive community ties.
“Affirmative relief” — involves identifying the low-priority individuals and creating a program for them to earn relief from deportation, such as in the case of the DACA program. During a news conference last week, Obama painted a sharp contrast between himself and congressional Republicans who voted to effectively end the DACA program the same day, saying he would have to “act alone” to solve the border crisis.

“The broader point is that if, in fact, House Republicans are concerned about me acting independently of Congress — despite the fact that I’ve taken fewer executive actions than my Republican predecessor or my Democratic predecessor before that, or the Republican predecessor before that — then the easiest way to solve it is passing legislation. Get things done,” Obama said.

Some legal experts, as well as supporters of any potential executive action, think the administration is on solid legal ground to take the steps described in reports — despite the White House’s repeated claims earlier this year that its hands were tied.

Others, like Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the conservative-leaning Center for Immigration Studies, disagree. Krikorian argued that though much smaller versions of the DACA program have been pursued by presidents in the past, they were usually in emergency situations in which the president did not have time to wait for Congress.

Krikorian said an expansion of the DACA program to as many as five million people could constitute a fundamental change in executive power — from a constitutional system with checks and balances to one that could run on “decree.”

“He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Constitution,” Krikorian said of Obama.

Krikorian said Obama’s executive actions could be a slippery slope for future presidents. One example he gave: A Republican President Chris Christie, for instance, could want to reform the corporate tax code. Facing opposition from Congress, he would decide that his administration would simply not prosecute corporations that don’t pay more than 25% in taxes.

However, Ben Winograd, an attorney at the Immigrant and Refugee Appellate Center, rejected Krikorian’s analogy. Winograd told Business Insider the federal government always has the discretion to enforce the law as it wishes or sees capable — and does so already, to an extent, in deciding which types of violators of tax laws it wants to go after.

“If the complaint is that, ‘Well, so and so isn’t following the law as we’d like him to,’ then the only remedy for that is political,” Winograd said. “You can vote them out at the ballot box, or you can try to bring articles of impeachment. But to say you are violating the law by not enforcing the law to an extent we’d like — I mean, it’s a non sequitur. It doesn’t make sense.”

The key element the administration must follow is adhering to the resources allocated by Congress. The Impoundment Control Act requires the executive branch to spend the money appropriated by Congress toward the purpose designated by Congress.

Congress has appropriated enough funds to deport about 400,000 people a year. The administration deported nearly 370,000 undocumented immigrants last year, according to statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security.

Martin, the Virginia law professor, told Business Insider the administration could theoretically adhere to those guidelines for at least a few years while expanding deferred action. But absent legislative action from Congress, it might be hard to continue on a long-term basis.

“The situation requires f aithful execution of appropriation laws,” Martin said. ” If they drop far below that, then there’d be real legal issues.”

Obama Is Preparing To Make One Of The Boldest Moves Of His Presidency — And It Could Stretch The Scope Of Executive Power – Yahoo Finance.