Are President Obama’s Actions Illegal?

Are President Obama's Action Legal?On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee examined President Obama’s abuse of executive power. The full committee met to discuss the president’s unconstitutional practices in delaying and outright not enforcing laws passed by Congress.

The president’s constant push back on health care deadlines was certainly the catalyst for the hearing; however the administration’s immigration practices did not go unnoticed. The arguments fell into two camps:

President legally using “prosecutorial discretion”

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) claimed that the executive may use prosecutorial discretion to determine how and when to enforce certain laws – including immigration laws. Conyers and other Democrats contend that the president can choose not to use resources to enforce the law against some illegal aliens.

However, this president has gone far beyond exercising discretion. Instead, President Obama and his administration have moved to undermine completely many immigration laws passed by Congress and effectively negate lawmakers’ intent. And, as Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) pointed out, the president is actually granting worker permits to some illegal aliens in spite of explicit statutory prohibitions against their employment.

President is abusing power and rewriting laws to his liking

Legal scholars testified that the administration’s actions are a “unilateral abridgement” of immigration laws. On “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) specifically, Prof. Nicholas Rosenkranz of Georgetown University said the president directed DHS to act as if the DREAM Act had been enacted.

In reality, the president and his advisors are distorting the traditional use of prosecutorial discretion – typically used to give relief from enforcement on a case by case basis. Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University wrote in his testimony on DACA: “While claimed to simply be an act of prosecutorial discretion, it constitutes a new and alternative immigration process for these individuals.”

President Obama’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion in immigration threatens the balance of power defined by our government’s framers and undercuts the past and future deliberative products of Congress. Turley puts it best: “If a president can claim sweeping discretion to suspend key federal laws, the entire legislative process becomes little more than a pretense.”

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


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  2. avatar

    Why should he care??? As long as he gets away with it, he wins….Keep marching to his tune until he has declared himself “President for LIfe”..because to quote him…”I like being president..I’m good at it”

  3. avatar

    Prosecutorial Discretion in the case of DACA is Unconstitutional on 2 counts:

    1. Existing immigration law makes no distinction between “Dreamers” and any other illegal aliens,
    and does not give the President the right to do so.

    2. Extending deferred status to “Dreamers” and not to other illegal alien groups is favoring one group over another.
    And even though ALL illegal aliens should be deported, giving one group special rights the others don’t have is Unconstitutional.

  4. avatar
    Charolotte Melanie Ashworth on

    Unless conservatives are willing to push back violently this will not stop…even in 2016.

  5. avatar
    Richard Dennis on

    When is someone going to get this guy impeached???? Lot of emails and facebook with all that Obama is doing wrong and no action on there end to do something.

  6. avatar

    In view of all of his so-calleddiscretionary laws, what does it take to stop this man ? By the time you try to impeach him he will be out of office ! I can only hope that the next president wil REPEAL
    ALL of his laws

  7. avatar

    For this to be null, the congress has to vote 3/4 yes which IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN so what does this means….the executive power is justified…………

    • avatar

      You are totally confused. A president may veto a law, and then Congress can overturn his veto by a 2/3 vote. This is nothing like that. He is taking laws that are already passed and already in effect and overruling them with executive decisions that directly contradict the specific language of the law. He has gone from the concept of discretion on individual cases to applying his new standards to everyone in that category.

    • avatar

      Jonathan Turley is a widely published and highly respected constitutional scholar. He says you’re wrong.

      • avatar

        Leland I do not care about JT and I am not a yes man nor a believer like yourself…I do my own research and find out about things on my own…..I do not easily get brainwashed like you….

        • avatar

          I do know that the president does not create law, like this president is doing. His job is to enforce the law, not change it.

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  9. avatar

    I vote to IMPEACH the SOB. He’s ruining and weakening the entire USA for his own liking. He doesn’t even qualify to be the president.


    • avatar

      If Reagan did something like this, let’s say, gave Affirmative Action to Women and not to Blacks,
      he damn well would have been impeached.

  10. avatar

    Good analysis by Jonathan Turley, a widely respected constitutional scholar. And the fact is that the Senate reform bill is full of these instances where the secretary of Homeland Security may, in effect, overturn legally passed laws by using their “discretion”. Sounds like what any banana republic dictator could do. Just declare the law is what I say it is. And why would any single member of Congress approve of this?

    This is not what three co equal branches are supposed to be, under our Constitution. Turley in fact noted that we now seem to have a fourth branch, consisting of federal agencies rewriting legislation at will.