AMNESTY MAN: President Barack Obama speaks at the ‘ConnectED to the Future’, on Wednesday in the East Room of the White House in Washington. he president is expected to take administrative steps to protect as many as 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits.
By M.D. Kittle | Watchdog.org
Using the kind of social network tools that helped him get elected, President Obama on Wednesday declared in a Facebook video that he would use his “lawful authority as president” to “start fixing our broken immigration system.”
Obama’s expected plan to grant legal status to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants was hailed as a victory for the powerful amnesty movement and criticized by amnesty opponents as an extra-constitutional power grab by a president who has grown increasingly fond of issuing executive power grab.
“… Obama (is) going against the will of Congress, which considered and rejected the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act on several occasions, including when both houses of Congress were controlled by the president’s party …” wrote Hans von Spakovsky and John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation in a piece outlining the constitutional pitfalls of Obama’s unilateral action.
William Gheen, president of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, used stronger words in challenging the president’s looming declaration, slated to be unveiled Thursday night on national television.
“We think what he’s about to do violates numerous federal laws, it violates the U.S. Constitution and in effect is a form of martial law that nullifies the results of our elections,” Gheen told Watchdog.org.
Gheen said Obama’s plan mirrors the legislation that his organization and other Americans “fought hard to defeat. And he noted the irony of the president’s stance over the years that it was improper to dictate legislation.
Supporters of a long-awaited national amnesty program found much promise in the president’s Facebook message Wednesday, but they’ve been down this road before — at least on the legislative front.
“We anxiously await the details of the speech and we expect to celebrate once this historic announcement is made,” Kica Matos, spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, the nation’s largest coalition of immigration rights groups, said in an email to Watchdog.org.
Still, the organization, with members in 30 states, wants more.
“… (W)e will continue our fight for all the families who are not covered under administrative relief and still face the fears of being detained, deported and separated from their families,” Matos said. “FIRM will not stop fighting until there is legislative reform for all undocumented immigrants.”
Critics of the president’s administrative action say legislation is the way to carry out any potential reforms to the United States’ broken immigration system — not presidential fiat.
Amnesty supporters have pointed to previous presidents pushing for legal status for illegal immigrants.
Von Spakovsky and Malcolm say presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush worked closely with Congress to implement comprehensive legislation that Congress ended up passing. Obama is bypassing Congress entirely, they say.
“He is unconstitutionally revising existing law and, without congressional approval, imposing new ones that have been explicitly rejected by Congress time and time again, thereby setting himself up as a kingmaker (or king) on immigration policy,” the constitutional experts write.