My article that appeared on USA Today on June 18.
The problem with President Obama’s announcement that he is granting what amounts to de facto amnesty to upwards of a million illegal aliens is not just that it was done for naked political reasons. The problem is that in taking this political step, the president is making an end-run around Congress, which has sole constitutional authority to make immigration policy, while at the same time harming the interests of millions of Americans.
In March 2011, the president stated definitively that he lacked the authority to do precisely what he announced on Friday. “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,” Obama said. “For me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.”
Thus, his actions represent a challenge to the constitutional Separation of Powers doctrine and a dangerous precedent that is bound to be repeated by this and future presidents.
Obama has decided to implement a law Congress never approved, while effectively nullifying numerous laws Congress has enacted because he objects to them. Not only will an estimated 1.4 million illegal aliens be permitted to remain here, nearly all of them will be granted work authorization despite the fact they are explicitly barred from working here under a 1986 law. Thus, America’s estimated 23 million un- and underemployed workers will find themselves competing with those who benefited from Friday’s amnesty.
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While many Americans may understand the difficult circumstances of this group of illegal aliens, they also understand that it was their parents, not the American people or American law, who put them there. Moreover, once we establish a precedent that bringing children here illegally will be rewarded, we are certain to see millions more follow suit.
Congress must act decisively to block this unauthorized amnesty. It is lawmakers’ obligation to protect the interests of the American people and to ensure that the president respects Congress’ constitutional authority to make our laws.