Jay Carney On Obama Speech: President Once Felt Exec Order Sparing Illegal Immigrants Was ‘Unconstitutional’

While illegal immigrants are breathing a sigh of relief after the President Obama speech Thursday night, pundits are pointing out some inconsistencies in the executive action that the president is taking and what he said on the issue several times throughout his presidency.

On Anderson Cooper 360 immediately following the remarks, the host played a series of clips in which President Obama said he was the President of the United States, “not the Emperor or the United States” and that “it can’t be done” by him alone when it comes to fixing the broken immigration system.

One of the panelists who pointed out the contradictions in what the president is doing: his former press secretary, Jay Carney.

Carney flatly said that Obama was “now doing what he once said was unconstitutional.”

“I think if he could have those words back, especially the first clip where he specifically talked about suspending deportations. That is literally what he is doing today.”

Carney recalled some of the specifics of how President Obama chose to handle illegal immigrants when he was working under him.

“In later instances, including when I was there, he would speak carefully about what he could not do as president: He can’t change the law. He can’t provide a path to citizenship. He can’t do the things that only Congress can do. But he can, using his executive authority, do what he did tonight, which is order the agencies to exercise prosecutorial discretion.”

While Carney is not the only political analyst to take Thursday’s Obama speech to task, he is one of the unusual suspects, having served under the president for most of his two terms.

Immediately following the president’s remarks, frequent critic and former GOP candidate for the presidential nomination Mike Huckabee had some harsh words of his own via Facebook.

“It is interesting that Obama cites Scripture as the justification for him taking unilateral action on illegal immigrants,” Huckabee wrote on Facebook. “Funny how, for the first six years of his Administration, even the two years when he had unstoppable majorities in both houses, Scripture did not compel immediate action. But two weeks after the final election he’ll have to deal with, suddenly, Scripture requires us to do this.”

What do you think about the president’s decision to suspend deportations for as many as five million illegal immigrants — politically motivated, unconstitutional, or the right call? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]