Why Obama’s Immigration Executive Action Is Unconstitutional

18Jun12

Although Friday’s confrontation between President Obama and Daily Caller White House correspondent Neil Munro is getting more attention, the actual reason for what happened can’t be ignore. There are two major problems with President Obama’s announcement that the federal government will stop deporting student illegal immigrant and give them work permits.

For one, it’s a purely political move and a lot like his announcement in May that he’s in favor of gay marriage. Obama is clearly looking to shore up support within the Latino community and to show he has their back. Mitt Romney is right on the money by saying the new policy is political.

The new policy also means Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act is now scuttled. Rubio has no reason to present his bill because Obama has said the federal government won’t deport young illegals. It also means Congress now has two years to come up with some sort of immigration policy. Obama is hoping enough Democrats will take over Congress so he can get Democrat Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s DREAM Act passed. Essentially, the President has kicked the can down the road.

The second, and more troubling problem, is that this is completely in violation of the powers given to the President in the Constitution. Article Two, Section Three says the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

The federal government defines an illegal immigrant as someone who is attempting to enter at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers or has not been admitted to the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.” Despite a comment by Obama last year that he can’t stop student deportations, he actually is well within his rights to do so. That’s IF I understand the very complicated federal law on immigration correctly. If Obama had stopped there with his announcement, it would have simply been seen as political.

However, he CANNOT issue them work permits. This is beyond what the law allows. Work permits can only be given to those who have legally entered the United States or have had their employers file a non-immigrant petition. Giving them to illegal immigrants who are already in the United States is unconstitutional.

By going around Congress, the President has set a dangerous precedent with the executive order. It shows Obama will do whatever he can to appease supporters and get parts of his agenda put into place. Iowa Congressman Steve King is doing the right thing by threatening a lawsuit because this does violate the separation of powers.

Unfortunately, more people care about the Obama-Munro confrontation. Which is probably what the President is hoping for.



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