President Obama repeatedly insisted that he lacked the constitutional authority to enact amnesty for illegal aliens without permission of Congress.
Tomorrow evening, the president is scheduled to deliver a televised address informing America that he will do just that, however.
An estimated five million illegal immigrants may be granted permission to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and, among other things, gain access to an array of social services through executive order.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the federal government has put out to bid a job to print up to 34 million green cards.
Under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress — not the Executive branch — is empowered to establish laws relating to immigration, however. A so-called comprehensive immigration bill passed the U.S. Senate in 2013 but not the House. It has been noted that during the 2009-2010 time period, when Democrats controlled the White House and both legislative chambers, the president did not move a bill on immigration reform that likely would have passed with his party running the show on Capitol Hill.
CBS, NBC, and Fox have so far declined to air the presidential immigration speech live and ABC is still undecided. The announcement apparently will be carried in real time by Univision, which plans to cut away from the Latin Grammys for that purpose.
“President Obama is poised to ignore stark warnings that executive action on immigration would amount to ‘violating our laws’ and would be ‘very difficult to defend legally.’ Those warnings came not from Republican lawmakers but from Mr. Obama himself,” the New York Times reported this week.
As things stand now, deportations have dropped somewhere in the range of between 20 to 34 percent over last year, depending upon which statistics are consulted through such measures as “prosecutorial discretion.” In 2012, without going through Congress, Obama suspended the deportation of about one million illegal immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an action he claimed in 2011 that he couldn’t legally do.
With regard to amnesty via executive action, the fact-checker for the Washington Post has awarded the president an upside down Pinocchio as a result of “a statement that represents a clear but unacknowledged ‘flip-flop’ from a previously-held position,” even as Obama claimed several days ago that his position on immigration reform “hasn’t changed.”
According to Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, Obama publicly declared 22 times that taking unilateral executive action on immigration was beyond the scope of his authority.
A new NBC poll indicates that 48 percent of Americans oppose executive action on immigration and 38 percent support it. Among Latinos, 43 percent support it while 37 percent oppose it, although NBC indicated that this data was derived from a small sample size.
As detailed by the Post, and other news outlets such as Town Hall, some of the president’s prior public statements on amnesty for illegal immigrants included the following.
“My cabinet has been working very hard on trying to get [immigration reform] done, but ultimately, I think somebody said the other day, I am president, I am not king.”[October 2010]
March 2011: “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don’t have a choice about that. That’s part of my job… with respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’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 laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
July 2011: “I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books … Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
January 2013: “Well, I think it is important to remind everybody that, as I said I think previously, and I’m not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I’m required to follow the law. And that’s what we’ve done. But what I’ve also said is, let’s make sure that we’re applying the law in a way that takes into account people’s humanity. That’s the reason that we moved forward on deferred action…”
February 2013: “… The problem is that you know I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed, and Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system…”
September 2013: “… My job in the executive branch is to carry out the laws that are passed. Congress has said, here’s the law when it comes to those who are undocumented, and they allocate a whole bunch of money for enforcement. What I have been able to do is make a legal argument that I think is absolutely right, which is that given the resources we have, we can’t do everything that Congress has asked us to do, what we can do is then carve out the DREAM Act folks… But if we start broadening that, then essentially, I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option…”
Even Jon Stewart, generally a vocal Obama supporter using the platform of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, chided the president for contradictory statements on immigration reform.
Do you think President Obama did a 180 when it comes to a decision to bypass Congress and enact amnesty on his own for illegal aliens?
[top image via Chameleons Eye/Shutterstock.com]