The president’s recent decision to ignore our immigration laws is an affront to the sensibilities of free men the world over. More important, it is a threat to the very structure of the governing system that has made the United States of America the strongest, wealthiest and most generous nation in the history of the planet.
This nation was made free by war. Men fought and died to shed the shackles of tyrannical rule. Given freedom, we opted to be governed rather than ruled. The powers of the government would be limited by a Constitution as memorialized in the Bill of Rights.
To become a citizen of the United States an immigrant must pass a test that includes this question: What is the supreme law of the land? The answer: The Constitution.
The first three articles of the Constitution specify the powers of the legislative, executive and the judiciary branches of government. It was not an accident that the first branch is Congress.
Article I Section 8 of the Constitution gives the Congress the power to establish immigration policy. There is no place under the Constitution or in any statute that gives that power to a department secretary.
The administration’s decision to ignore long-standing law and, by memo from the Secretary of Homeland Security, provide de facto legal residence, work permits and social security cards - and thus eligibility for federal tax benefits - to 5 million illegal immigrants is a bridge too far. By ignoring the separation of powers and encroaching on the power of the Congress, it removes us from being governed and returns us to being ruled.
The president has broad powers in diplomatic and military matters where policy can be initiated and carried out without an express vote of Congress. Treaties and trade policy can be negotiated freely before a congressional approval must be given.
President Barack Obama was not reticent about placing his stamp on diplomacy, starting with the “reset” of relations with Russia two months after he was inaugurated.
This was followed by a decision not to back reformers in Iran and then siding with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab Spring.
The decision to leave Iraq with no status of forces agreement went unhindered by congressional action.
The murder of our ambassador in Libya was the result of executive decisions also - both diplomatic and military. The Department of State chose not to provide the requested security for the facility in Benghazi where the terrorist attack occurred on September 11, 2012. The Department of Defense chose not to send military assets to respond to the attack.
It was a presidential decision to cede Syria to the Russians in 2013. Russia returned the favor by thumbing its nose at us in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. It was a presidential decision not to respond.
After six years of unfettered decisions across the globe leaving failure, anarchy, suffering and death in his wake, the president has decided to act where the Constitution clearly does not give him that authority.
The president's flouting of the supreme law of the land regarding immigration will doubtless leave widespread anarchy in its wake also, but that can be cleaned up by future administrations. What causes more concern is whether this lawless precedent will be left unchallenged so that future presidents will feel free to also rule at will.
And to encourage future lawlessness, the president assures us that he will, without consulting Congress, impose legal burdens to further the superstition that government action can affect the climate.
Other presidents have made efforts to act beyond their authority and have been stopped – often by a bureaucrat with respect for the limits on executive authority. President Nixon’s Commissioner of the IRS refused his attempt to use the IRS against his political foes. President Obama was not denied that weapon.
We have come to the sad circumstance where the bureaucracy is just as bent on abusing their power for political gain as is the president. They know full well that what the president is doing is illegal, but they agree with him politically and will help him along the way.
I once was skeptical about the House of Representative’s lawsuit over the president’s abuse of power in changing the Obamacare law without congressional approval. I remain skeptical – but hopeful. This lawless abuse of the supreme law of the land must stop. There is nowhere else to turn.
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