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Obama asserts authority he knows he never had

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In thinking about the questionable legality of President Obama's immigration policy change, I thought it might be useful to quote a Harvard-educated constitutional legal scholar -- Barry Obama:

With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. 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.

In a speech to La Raza last July, President Obama noted how some of his supporters would prefer if he could just "bypass Congress and change the laws on my own." At the time, however, this was an idea that Obama again said was "very tempting," but ultimately not possible. "That's not how our system works," he said.

Just days later, Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus: "As I mentioned when I was at La Raza a few weeks back, I wish I had a magic wand and could make this all happen on my own," he said. "There are times where -- until Nancy Pelosi is Speaker again -- I'd like to work my way around Congress... We live in a democracy, and at the end of the day, I can't do this all by myself under our democratic system," he added. "If we're going to do big things -- whether it’s passing this jobs bill, or the DREAM Act, or comprehensive immigration reform -- we're going to have to get Congress to act."

So why then is he now planning to do just that -- bypass Congress to unilaterally implement provisions of the DREAM Act legislation which was soundly defeated by the elected legislature?  How dare he ignore the constitutional restraints on his executive power for election-year pandering.

This obviously forces Mitt Romney into a position to take a strong stand in favor of the rule of law.  The implications for the future of immigration policy are also significant, as Sen. Marco Rubio observed: "[B]y once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.”

The real question, however, will be whether any Democrats in Congress, including those who may agree with Obama's policy goals, will have the cajones to speak out against the president's underhanded way of enacting them.

Update:

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey makes an important point about Obama's proposed work visas and America's already struggling economy:

So …. he’s going to hand out hundreds of thousands of work permits when unemployment is at 8.2% nominal, 14.8% U-6, and the civilian participation rate is near the 30-year low Obama set last month (now 63.8%)?  The only thing this accomplishes is driving the labor rate further downward and the unemployment rate further upward.  Work permits make sense when you’re creating jobs, but not when jobs are scarce.  I’m not sure that’s going to endear Obama to unions and blue-collar voters struggling to find work already.

Another quick thought I have: Is Obama bluffing?  By bringing this issue to the forefront, perhaps Obama hopes to force another congressional vote on the issue.  He already knows it will fail, but today's proposal will once again bring the issue to the media's attention, the public's attention and, most importantly, voters' attention.

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