|Immigration Executive Order -- All smoke and mirrors
By Mark Alexander
So, the Imperial President claims that, because Republicans are not passing the immigration "reform" legislation that best suits the Democratic Party's political agenda, he is going to bypass Congress and issue an executive order (EO).
Don't believe it.
In leftist parlance, "immigration reform" means providing a jackpot to illegal aliens -- giving them official status so they can work and receive all associated taxpayer-subsidized services like housing, schooling and medical care. Once integrated, the second step is to provide a fast-track to citizenship. In other words, for Democrats, immigration reform means, first and foremost, seeding a large constituency.
But is Obama really attempting to give millions of illegal immigrants worker status?
In 2008, then President-elect Obama declared, "I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support." In 2009 and 2010, Obama had the benefit of Democrat Party control of both the House and Senate, however, his congressional Demos never passed an amnesty bill and thus he did not sign one.
Because he and his fellow Democrats were just pandering to Latinos; they had no intention of passing legislation to provide worker permits for five to 10 million illegal immigrants.
Because another larger and more critical Democrat voter constituency is composed of low-income Americans, whom the Left baits with class warfare rhetoric centered on issues like "living wages" and increasing the minimum wage.
As my daughter, a university student working toward a business degree, framed this issue, "Labor inflation results in wage deflation." In other words, the Democrats really don't want to dump millions of immigrant laborers, who are willing to take low wages, onto their dependable American low-income constituency, because that will, in effect, drive wages even lower.
This is a fundamental supply-and-demand equation.
Just before Democrats were shellacked during the midterm "Republican wave," Obama borrowed a line from The Gipper for a national campaign interview: "Ronald Reagan used to ask the question, 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' In this case, are you better off than you were in six? And the answer is, the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office." But according to BO, the problem is the American people "don't feel it," and he insisted, "The reason they don't feel it is because incomes and wages are not going up."
Of course, the reason for wage stagnation is that Obama's economic "recovery" policies have been a colossal failure. On top of that, the influx of cheap illegal immigrant labor effectively caps any increase in wages for unskilled workers.
Democrats argue raising the minimum wage will protect their low-wage constituents, but that is a fabrication. As the Congressional Budget Office made clear, artificially increasing wages will decrease employment.
The issue of immigrant labor undermining the ability of low-income earners to achieve a "living wage" is nothing new. A primary reason Abraham Lincoln did not emancipate slaves at the onset of the War Between the States is that the influx of black labor into northern markets competing for jobs held by white laborers would have undermined Lincoln's political support from the latter.
The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass was so angry with Lincoln for delaying the liberation of some slaves that he scarcely contacted him before 1863, noting that Lincoln was loyal only "to the welfare of the white race." Apparently, more than a few Latino politicos are equally disenchanted with Obama's failure to provide immigrant work permits.
So what of Obama's EO?
The Demo strategy is to craft that EO in such a way that Republicans can successfully chip away at it, primarily by defunding and de-authorizing key components of its implementation, as well as by issuing legal challenges. Thus, Democrats will receive credit from both their legal and illegal Latino constituencies for, ostensibly, attempting to provide them with nine million Permanent Residency or Employment Authorization cards. Then they can blame those "obstructionist" Republicans for blocking them.
Last week, Senate Democrats, in a letter to Obama supporting his EO plan, made clear their intent to share in the political fruits of this charade.
Obama, as we've often noted, is a master of the BIG Lie, and, just like the litany of lies that he and his party used to deceive Americans into supporting ObamaCare, they are also deceiving millions of Americans into believing Democrats support both "living wages" and "immigration reform."
Apparently, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) got it right when he interrupted Obama's 2009 introduction of ObamaCare to a joint session of Congress and the nation. "You lie! You lie!" Wilson memorably yelled.
Indeed, "lack of transparency" and "the stupidity of the American voter," in the words of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber, are also applicable to Obama's low-wage and Latino constituencies in regard to amnesty by EO. Of course, there is plenty of evidence that Obama constituents are too ignorant to know they're being duped -- after all, they elected him. Twice.
Not only do Democrats assume their constituents are too stupid to understand Obama's amnesty EO subterfuge, but Obama is willing to, once again, turn constitutional Rule of Law on end to accomplish this deceit.
When Obama declared his intent to issue the immigration EO: "I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago that if in fact Congress failed to act I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try to make the system work better."
Of course, "lawful authority" is whatever Obama defines it to be at a given time. He was against unlawful executive orders before he was for them.
On March 31, 2008, candidate Obama said, "I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States of America."
But having failed to pass immigration reform in his first two years in office when he owned the House and Senate, and then having lost control of the House in the 2010 midterm election, Obama repeatedly pleaded in Latino forums that he had no power to implement the changes he'd promised. Rebuffing calls that he legislate by executive order, Obama insisted, "I am not a dictator. I'm the president. ... If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress then I would do so. ... I'm not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed."
Obama may not have implemented his immigration policies by EO, but he certainly suspended enforcement of immigration laws with an executive order.
But by 2014, with his singular centerpiece legislation -- ObamaCare -- falling apart, and Democrats putting as much distance between him and them as possible, Obama believed the only way his party could stave off a resounding defeat in the midterm election was if he delivered Latino votes.
He began the year promising, "Where Congress isn't acting, I'll act on my own. ... I've got a pen ... and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward." In other words, when Republicans don't give Obama what he wants on immigration, he will pull an executive order end run.
Asked about his revised position to implement amnesty by executive order, Obama regurgitated this spin: "Well, actually, my position hasn't changed. When I was talking to the advocates, their interest was in me, through executive action, duplicating the legislation that was stalled in Congress. ... There are certain limits to what falls within the realm of prosecutorial discretion in terms of how we apply existing immigration laws."
Of course, that is just more constitutional obfuscation.
Despite his faux devotion to our Constitution, Obama has wantonly violated his oath to "to Support and Defend" it.
Though Obama claims to be a "professor of constitutional law," a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University's Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has issued severe criticism of Obama's "über presidency," his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.
According to Turley, "When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There's no license for going it alone in our system, and what he's done, is very problematic. He's told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic."
He continued: "What's emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. ... When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. ... Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. ... What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. ... We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. ... No one in our system can 'go it alone' -- not Congress, not the courts, and not the president."
When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond "to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration," Turley responded, "This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers. ... I hope he does not get away with it."
Over on Obama's MSNBC network, even leftist commentator Lawrence O'Donnell finds the prospect of Obama's executive amnesty diktat daunting. He asked Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) about Obama's authority to issue an EO giving work permits to millions of illegal immigrants: "No one at the White House has been able to give me the legal justification for the following component of the president's plan. ... Has the White House told you -- what is the legal justification for the president to create a new category of beneficiaries for work documents? How can that be done without legislation?"
Of course, Welch could not answer O'Donnell, because there is no such authority.
Before the midterm election, Obama declared, "Make no mistake, [my] policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them." Make no mistake: The American people resoundingly rejected his policies on November 4.
That notwithstanding, Obama has dismissed the election results. Perhaps he believes his immigration EO artifice will deliver enough Latino voters to Democrat candidates in 2016 to hold the presidency and regain the Senate, and somehow that will restore his "Dear Leader" status. After all, more than a million illegal immigrants were unlawfully registered to vote in the midterm election, particularly in states where Democrats have thwarted efforts to require voter IDs.
The bottom line for Republicans is that they need to drive home four points.
First, the "immigration reform" pledges by Obama and his Democrats are disingenuous because they would undermine the Left's entire "living wage" platform. But Democrats believe their low-income and Latino constituencies are too stupid to understand this ruse. Remember: "Labor inflation results in wage deflation."
Second, as Dr. Turley noted, Obama is willing to trash the Constitution in order to advance his ruinous policies. Republicans need to use his abject abuse of power and the threat it poses to Liberty as a constitutional teachable moment.
Third, any debate about immigration is useless unless it begins with a commitment to securing our borders first. As Ronald Reagan declared, "A nation without borders is not a nation." Likewise, it must address the issue of so-called "birthright citizenship," which is a gross misinterpretation of our Constitution's 14th Amendment.
And last, Republicans need to embrace the fact that Liberty is colorblind. It's not a "white thing." Essential Liberty is timeless. And because it transcends all racial, ethnic, gender and class distinctions, it will appeal to all freedom-loving people when properly presented.
Time to see what the incoming House and Senate Republican majorities are made of!
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.