Today I witnessed something that has really put me on edge. A sitting president ignoring portions of our Constitution to enact a new law because Congress did not produce the legislation he was seeking. I am not sure that most Americans truly appreciate the gravity of this development, so I thought I'd take a few moments to re-visit the events of the day and provide some information about our American form of government.
President Obama issued an Executive Order earlier today providing children of illegal aliens with defacto amnesty. The provisions of this order mirror legislation known as the Dream Act which has been introduced in Congress in various forms as far back as 2001. Half a dozen bills introduced in congress related to issues addressing children of illegal immigrants have been rejected. Because of this, President Obama decided today to unilaterally act to issue an executive order which essentially declares into law what had been rejected in Congress. There is one big problem with this action, however .. the President is not authorized under our Constitution to write law, so where is the authority for such an order?
Here is what our Constitution has to say ...
Congress has the power to pass laws regarding legalization, naturalization, deportation of aliens according to Article 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution: "Congress shall have the Power To... establish an [sic] uniform Rule of Naturalization."
The President has the responsibility of enforcing the laws: Article II, Sec. 3: "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."
There is no provision in our Constitution that allows presidents to craft laws unilaterally or refuse to enforce laws they do not agree with.. but this is exactly what President Obama is doing.
What is so scary about this? We have a president that is assuming he alone has the authority to write the laws of this land. We have three branches of government that were set up to prevent one group or individual from having too much control over the people. Our Congress is the one body granted the task of creating laws precisely because they are the representatives of We the People. But, as a check on the power of Congress, we have a president that must sign legislation to make it law and the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the law. By acting today in this manner, President Obama has bypassed all of these safeguards. We now have one person who believes he is the sole ruler over the people of this country. This is not the America that is established in our Declaration of Independence or Constitution. We do not elect Kings in America, we elect leaders who represent us.
What can be done about this? Our Congress must act to demand this order be rescinded. This act is a blatant disregard for the separation of powers established in our Constitution. This must be brought before our Supreme Court and voided. In order to do that, Congress must be willing to suffer the political consequence of opposing an order that is popular with some of our citizens. Will Congress act? Are they willing to take the inevitable criticisms that will accompany a challenge? Only time will tell.
This is President Obama speaking on this issue in March of 2011.
"With respect to the notion that I could just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case... because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed... 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."