It’s a tactic that has become the hallmark of his presidency. President Obama declaring a change in U.S. immigration law. No Congressional action. No court decision. Just another executive decision. This time changing immigration law to permit young people who were brought to this country illegally to stay, rather than face deportation.
We should have seen this one coming. The Wall Street Journal points out that President Obama actually revealed his intentions a year ago. “In a speech last year to La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization that has criticized the White House for the lack of progress on immigration reform, President Obama mused that he’d like ‘to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own.’ He added, ‘Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you.’”
Well, the temptation he talked about then proved to be too much for the president. Last Friday, he gave into political temptation. Another power grab.
President Obama and his imperial presidency. Acting alone in deciding which laws to enforce, which to ignore. A constitutional scholar who isn’t following the constitution. A president who doesn’t worry about the separation of powers, circumventing the traditional checks and balances of our constitutional system.
It’s this kind of arrogance that already has drawn a sharp rebuke from many.
Sen. Lindsey Graham called Obama’s action “at best unwise and possibly illegal.” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he is planning to file suit against the Obama Administration to challenge the president’s action.
And respected commentator Charles Krauthammer put it more bluntly: “Beyond the pandering, beyond the politics, beyond the process – is simple constitutional decency. This is out-and-out lawlessness. You had a clip of the president himself say months ago ‘I cannot do this on my own because there are laws on the books.’ Well, I have news for president – the laws remain on the books. They haven’t changed.”
For this White House and this president, there is only one branch of government – the executive branch. And, no doubt, the president will continue to rely on what many have called his executive command authority to push through his agenda.