'Out-and-out lawlessness'

Astoundingly, that's what this Justice Department seems to be doing

Nearly four years into his presidency, and months before Mr. Obama sits for re-election, suddenly “it’s the right thing” to grant amnesty to illegal aliens who were brought here as children.

Is that it? A sudden attack of moral conscience?

Or, in bypassing Congress to, again, decide to pick and choose for himself which laws to enforce, is Mr. Obama merely cashing in the Constitution in order to buy votes?

It seems obvious – about the only transparent thing about an administration that promised transparency but hardly ever delivers it.

In claiming that his unilateral decision to change the nation’s immigration laws is not “amnesty,” the president now becomes the second person ever to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope, after daredevil Nik Wallenda. We don’t know what else you call suspension of a law to benefit someone or some group.

Well, maybe “unconstitutional.”

It’s not the first time this president has suspended the laws of the land to suit his personal taste or political fortunes. He also unilaterally decided not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and has handed out waivers – permissions to violate certain laws – to help entities and groups avoid complying with the federal health care act and No Child Left Behind Act.

Don’t like the laws? Have good political connections? There’s an “app” for that!

It is stretching the bounds of constitutional government for a chief executive to be nullifying the acts of a legislative body as he sees fit.

Even Mr. Obama seemed to agree with us on that – just over a year ago, when he told a group of Hispanics, “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. 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.”

The difference is, this version of the same president – Obama 3.0 – sees his re-election chances slipping. So all that constitutional law professor mumbo-jumbo of a year ago is out the window.

It is a frightening set of precedents – they keep getting more and more brazen – that should alarm all Americans and frighten both parties in Congress. Even if you agree with the decision to grant amnesty to certain illegal aliens up to age 30, as this president has just done, what about the next president? What if he starts taking actions you don’t agree with that are arguably outside the bounds of his authority?

Members of Congress of both parties should be on the warpath today, and should act immediately to block this president’s abuse of authority. It’s the legislative branch’s power he is appropriating.

“In effect, Obama is doing by himself what Congress so far has spurned,” writes Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers.

The administration cites “prosecutorial discretion” in its grant of amnesty. But that, too, is a perversion. Law enforcers need discretion to enforce laws according to particular circumstances in specific cases – not to simply up and decide not to enforce a law utterly.

“The executive branch’s authority to defer deportation, as an act of prosecutorial discretion, is not explicitly spelled out either in regulations or in statutory law,” Doyle writes.

Further, Doyle notes, courts have said such a policy exists for “administrative convenience” – and not, we would argue, for political expediency.

“The Hispanic population in Florida, Virginia, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado may well decide the November election,” Joseph Curl writes in The Washington Times, “and with working-class whites, religious blacks, disenchanted young people and Jews fleeing in droves, Mr. Obama is looking to shore up his support, even if that means violating his oath to protect the Constitution.”

Of Mr. Obama’s action, commentator Charles Krauthammer concluded, “This is out-and-out lawlessness.”

Borders – between countries, between branches of government – appear to mean nothing today.

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Sat, 02/18/2017 - 21:59

Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon