THE ARSENAL OF DESTRUCTION: OBAMA SAYS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS CAN STAY IN AMERICA BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO? BUT, IS IT?
PART 2: EXECUTIVE BRANCH OVERREACH/USURPATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE FUNCTION BY THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT IN CLEAR DEFIANCE OF THE SEPARATION OF POWERS DOCTRINE SET FORTH IN AND THE MAINSTAY OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION.
SUBPART 3: THE OFFICE OF LEGAL COUNSEL’S OPINION ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
SUB-SUBPART 1: OBAMA SAYS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS CAN STAY IN AMERICA BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING FOR AMERICA TO DO? BUT, IS IT?
Lost in the chorus of sloganeering over immigration is any discussion of the legality of Obama’s executive order, granting amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants. Obama claims that a legal basis for his executive order exists. But what is it? Does Obama tell us? Curiously, when Obama talks, he glosses quickly over critical points he doesn’t want the public to focus on. And that’s true of his intention to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
Obama happened to mention, in passing, that the Office of Legal Counsel told him he has the legal authority to unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. And the mainstream media (MSM), quick to echo the President’s sentiments, is slow to question the accuracy of the President’s assertions and the sincerity of his motives. The MSM simply takes Obama at his word. In so doing, the MSM becomes merely a toady for the President, and, as such, utterly fails to serve the public interest. Neither Obama nor the mainstream media troubles to tell the American People what the Office of Legal Counsel actually said. Obama, an attorney himself and purported Constitutional law expert doesn’t want to talk about the law. Rather, Obama talks incessantly about morality. Obama says granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens is the right thing to do. Some Americans might disagree with Obama’s notions of morality. But, whether you agree with Obama’s brand of morality or not is beside the point. What we are concerned with here is law, not one person’s notions of morality.
So, let us consider what the Office of Legal Counsel actually says. Let us consider the purported legal authority of the Chief Executive to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
We begin with a simple truth: letting millions of people remain in this Country because it would be nice for us to do so – individuals, who had no business being in this Country in the first place – isn’t a tenable basis for letting them remain here.
Keep in mind, at the outset of this discussion and analysis, three critical points.
The first critical point is that the opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel is just that: an opinion. The opinion does not have the force of law because the opinion is not handed down by a court of law after an adversarial proceeding. Still, the opinion by the Office of Legal Counsel has more import than dubious, simplistic, bombastic, moralistic pronouncements by Obama. For, the opinion sets the stage for the Chief Executive’s arguments in Court in the event Republicans in Congress ever demonstrate the courage to throw down the gauntlet. At the moment Congressional Republicans are merely huffing and puffing smoke. And Obama suspects Congressional Republicans don’t have the backbone to challenge him on illegal immigration.
The second critical point is that our Founders gave considerable thought to the matter of naturalization and understood the singular importance of it by explicitly referring to it in Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution. The Founders made clear that Congress, alone, has the power to create rules for naturalization. No other Branch of Government has such power. Yet Obama seeks to assume that power unto himself, as Chief Executive.
The third critical point is this: the laws our Nation adopts for those who are to become citizens have a decisive impact on what this Nation is; what this Nation may become; how successful this Nation shall be. We ignore our own laws at our peril. And, we undermine the strength of our citizenry by admitting, ultimately, as new citizens of our Nation, the worst among people – those who would dare to cross our borders illegally. For how can such people claim to be law-abiding, honorable individuals, who break the first of our laws, crossing our borders illegally – and then daring to claim what they are not: responsible individuals, respectful of our Nation’s laws – those who come to this Nation under cloak of darkness — their very presence here, a lie?
The opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel is extraordinarily long and detailed. The person who drafted the report, Karl R. Thompson, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, talks about a lot of things, but one thing he doesn’t talk about is morality. There isn’t one word about it in the entire length and breadth of the report. And that makes sense. That is as it should be. For, the issue of amnesty raises a legal issue, not a moral one. So, Obama’s rhetorical utterances to the Public are irrelevant. What is relevant – the only thing that is relevant – is whether Obama has the legal authority to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Once again, the Constitution certainly doesn’t give him that power. That power resides only with Congress.
Now, the Office of Legal Counsel doesn’t suggest that the authority to enact laws governing naturalization and citizenship reside in the Office of the Chief Executive. Clearly, it does not. Rather, what the Office of Legal Counsel seems to opine, at least according to Obama’s terse and tacit assertion about it, is that Obama’s executive action, granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, does not rise to the level of law-making. For, if it did, Obama’s action would definitely lie beyond his authority as Chief Executive. But, if Obama’s executive action is no more than an exercise of administrative discretion, then such action would fall within his legal purview. So, which is it? On scrutiny of the opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel actually equivocates on this very point. But Obama goes his merry way, claiming his power to act unilaterally on illegal immigration, in the bold unprecedented manner he wants and does, is clear and unequivocal. And there’s the rub. Obama is dead wrong. And that, perhaps, explains why Obama says next to nothing about the law to the American public and all too much about morality.
Obama is less a competent leader of a nation and more an able stage magician. He deliberately, cleverly, and perniciously, directs the public’s attention away from what is important, namely the laws of immigration and a Chief Executive’s duties under the U.S. Constitution, and toward something totally irrelevant, an odd sermon on morality as he or his enablers define it. Thus, he completes his conjuring trick.
Let’s take a look at the opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel.
Two specific questions are raised: (1) whether, given limited resources, it is legally permissible for the President to prioritize the illegal aliens the DHS first gets rid of; and (2) whether it is permissible for DHS to give temporary relief from removal to certain illegal aliens who are the parents of children who are present in the U.S. Those are the two questions that Obama asked the Office of Legal Counsel to answer. Those are the only questions that Obama asked the Office of Legal Counsel to answer. But what were Counsel’s answers?
In providing answers to the President, the Office of Legal Counsel first looked at the impetus for the questions. The Office acknowledged that 11.3 million illegal aliens have taken up residence in this Country and that the DHS only has resources sufficient to remove 400,000 of them each year. So, in the absence of additional resources DHS has to prioritize what illegal aliens it rids the Country of. And the legal questions, especially, the first one, go to the issue of prioritization.
The President asks the Office whether he can decide, irrespective of Congress, who among the illegal aliens can stay here, at least for a while, although, in fact, indefinitely, and who among them must be removed immediately. The crux of the first issue is: how far does Executive discretion extend? We will explore this question in depth in the next installment. In a subsequent post we will deal with the second of the two questions, pertaining to temporary relief for a specific class of illegal aliens.
One further point to ponder:
In dealing with immigration here, understand, no one is seriously contesting the propriety of immigration proper. After all, we are a Nation of immigrants. What we are looking at here is whether people who entered our Country illegally, with impunity, should be forgiven their transgression, and allowed to remain. In the context of the desire of millions of illegal immigrants to remain this Country, we must remember that many millions of individuals throughout the world desire to become American citizens. And the vast majority of those wishing to become American citizens do respect our laws. They wait their turn. They wait patiently to become citizens in accordance with the laws of naturalization Congress has enacted.
To give preference to those who disrespect our laws is to denigrate those who respect and honor our laws. To give preference to those who disrespect our laws is, as well, to undercut the rule of law. It is to denigrate our parents and grandparents and great grandparents – individuals who came to this Country through legal channels; individuals who sought to learn the English language; individuals who sought to adopt American culture, and customs, and traditions, rather than to force America to adopt theirs. Those who come to our shores in the dark of night, rather than in the light of day, do not concern themselves about our laws, our culture, our customs, our traditions, our history, our language. Is that not all too obvious?Copyright © 2015 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour) and Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.