I personally agree with President Obama's prescription for dealing with young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought illegally into the country. I suspect that if a law was passed as part of a broader immigration policy similar to the one that was unilaterally enacted yesterday by Obama that a majority of Americans would support it.
I realize that reasonable people can disagree about this, that illegal is illegal and "law breakers" should not be given a place in line in front of those who come here legally all of which I too agree with. But we live in a real world where perfect solutions are not always possible or even desirable. I have no desire to "weed" out perfectly "normal" young people from our society, a society that they have grown up in and belong to and send them back to what to them in many cases is a foreign land. Laws are about justice and in my opinion there is no justice in persecuting the innocent. Much of what this new policy seems to be a reasonable solution to a difficult problem.
The executive order will apply to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16 and are younger than 30. They also must have no major criminal offenses, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have graduated from a U.S. high school or have earned a GED, or served in the military.
Individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.
All of this seems as the President says to solve a thorny problem:
“These are young people who study in our schools and play on our playgrounds,they are Americans in every single way but one – on paper.”
And for this act of seeming compassion President Obama should be impeached.
Because you see the "on paper" part is the law of the land duly enacted by congress and signed into law by a president of the United States. By circumventing this law , not for constitutional reasons, but simply for policy differences and political considerations President Obama has violated his oath. As John Yoo pointed out if this is the way our nation's laws are treated then anything goes:
Imagine the precedent this claim would create. President Romney could lower tax rates simply by saying he will not use enforcement resources to prosecute anyone who refuses to pay capital-gains tax. He could repeal Obamacare simply by refusing to fine or prosecute anyone who violates it.
So what we have here is a president who is refusing to carry out federal law simply because he disagrees with Congress’s policy choices. That is an exercise of executive power that even the most stalwart defenders of an energetic executive — not to mention the Framers — cannot support.
The First Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon stated;
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his consitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice....
The current law is not some great moral injustice, it is a reasonable law that had it been enforced as it was written would not have led us to this difficult situation. This is not Lincoln denying the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act, the current law does not deny illegal immigrant's person hood, it is simply a law meant to enforce our national borders and sovereignty. The Federal governments lack of enforcement is what has allowed this current situation to exist.
The President is not making the case that somehow our immigration laws are unconstitutional, he has simply by executive fiat "prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice". Although I or he or any other citizen may feel that the deportation of people brought here through no fault of there own is not a good policy or requires a more compassionate remedy, the fact remains that it is the duly enacted law of the land and it is his responsibility as "chief law enforcement officer" to enforce it.
As he himself has said::
This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is not true,The fact of the matter is there are laws on the books I have to enforcee. And there is a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and comprehensive immigration reform passed by perpetuating the notion that somehow by myself I can just go and do these things.”
So in six months time "laws on the books I have to enforce" has simply become something " on paper" easily circumvented with a stroke of his imperial pen. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that he did this simply for electoral purposes. Not even his most sycophant minions at the New York Times try to hide his motives:
WASHINGTON — In many ways, President Obama’s unilateral shift in immigration policy was a bluntly political move, a play for a key voting bloc in the states that will decide whether he gets another term. But as political moves go, it held the potential for considerable payoff.
So now this is how the rule of law is enforced in the United States? For the electoral benefit of our elected executives? The sliminess of this president has reach new lows. This electoral pandering is not only unseemly it is illegal, we are becoming a nation of men rather than laws which will destroy us.
Perhaps Charles Krauthammer put it best and most simply when he said:
"Beyond the pandering, beyond the politics, beyond the process is simple constitutional decency. This is out-and-out lawlessness. You had a clip of the president himself say months ago 'I cannot do this on my own because there are laws on the books.' Well, I have news for the president: The laws remain on the books, they haven't changed,"
I agree with Obama in theory but we are not a nation of theories we are a Constitutional Republic bound by laws..or at least we used to be.