Saturday, 28 June 2014

Obama Prepared to Adopt Immigration Reform — Without Congress

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Despite threats from House Republicans to try and hold President Obama to the constitutional limits set for the Executive branch, the White House press secretary indicates that Obama has no intention of showing any restraint, particularly on the issue of immigration. According to Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the Obama administration has grown impatient with Congress and intends to move forward with its agenda.

“We’re not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress,” he explained. “We’ve been waiting a year already. The president has tasked his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with reviewing what options are available to the president, what is at his disposal using his executive authority to try to address some of the problems that have been created by our broken immigration system.”

Perhaps sensing that he’s said too much, Earnest added that while Obama is exploring executive action, such action was “not a substitute for robust Congressional action” on immigration reform.

“That’s why we’re trying to focus on getting that done,” he concluded.

On June 25, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who despite being in Congress has no problem with the president usurping legislative powers, issued a similar warning to Republicans regarding immigration reform. Hoyer stated that the Obama administration is prepared to make “significant” changes in immigration policy if Republicans do not act before August.

"We ought to make it very clear that if we don't act, then there's going to be a significant change in policy by the administration. We're urging that. We've discussed it with the administration," Hoyer said during a press briefing in his office.

"Our position is that ... now's the time to address the comprehensive immigration reform bill," he added. "And we expect, by the end of the month — July ... that if we don't take action, the president will take action."

Hoyer’s remarks came just hours before House Speaker John Boehner announced that the House will be pursuing a lawsuit against Obama for his abuses of executive powers.

"What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch,” Boehner told reporters June 25. “I believe the president is not faithfully executing the laws of our country."

“This is not about impeachment — its about him faithfully executing the laws of this county,” the speaker added. "My view is the president has not faithfully executed the laws. What we have seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the Legislative Branch."

Boehner also stated that it is not simply that Obama ignores the law, but that he virtually “brags about it.”

President Obama had said that 2014 would be a “year of action” and has spent much of it issuing executive orders on things like minimum wage, federal pay discrimination, and newly announced regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on carbon admissions. The president has also taken administrative action to delay parts of the Affordable Care Act.

In a memo sent to House Republicans, Boehner specifically referenced President Obama’s abuse of power via executive orders:

On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce — at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him. On matters ranging from health care and energy to foreign policy and education, President Obama has repeatedly run an end-around on the American people and their elected legislators, straining the boundaries of the solemn oath he took on Inauguration Day.

Obama’s earnestness in circumventing Congress reveals his disregard for what the American people want, since Congress is comprised of individuals elected by the American people to represent them. It also shows his disregard for the Constitution, which assigns all legislative powers to Congress. Such disregard poses a significant threat to the entire system on which our country runs.

"The president has a clear record of ignoring the American people’s elected representatives and exceeding his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for both our system of government and our economy," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

To date, President Obama has issued over 180 executive orders and a series of other executive proclamations.

Still, some have argued that despite Obama’s abundance of executive orders, he remains below the long-term average of 44 per annum, and below the average of Democratic presidents, which is 59 per annum.

But that does not assuage President Obama of guilt over his abuse of his authority; it simply indicates that other presidents were also guilty of the very same thing. 

Meanwhile, as noted by, taking any further action on immigration may not be wise for President Obama, who has already been under harsh scrutiny over his immigration efforts.

“Obama has been heavily criticized after his 2012 executive decision to defer the deportations of some young illegal immigrants, which critics argue was a key incentive for more children to cross the border illegally,” reports

What’s worse is that President Obama’s handling of immigration is opposed by the American people. A new Gallup poll reveals that only 31 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s immigration agenda. Gallup notes it is the “lowest reading since 2010, when Gallup begin polling on his handling of the issue.”

Two in three Americans, 65 percent, disapprove, according to that poll. Gallup writes:

Recent developments contributing to the ongoing debate about immigration include Obama's delay of a review of deportation policies by the Department of Homeland Security in the hope of striking a legislative deal on immigration reform with Congress. Also, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's recent primary loss was widely viewed as a defeat rooted in Cantor's perceived stance on immigration. The primary loss and subsequent shakeup in House leadership could spell greater challenges for Obama as he tries to work with Republicans. Additionally, the media has recently enlarged its spotlight on the increasing numbers of unaccompanied Central American children who have crossed the U.S. border, seeking their already immigrated family members and a generally better life.

On the issue of immigration, the poll shows a clear bipartisan split. Sixty percent of Democrats polled agree with Obama’s handling of immigration while just 25 percent of Independents and 8 percent of Republicans approve.

Photo of President Obama: AP Images

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