OP-ED: Congress Must Protect Its Powers
President Barack Obama’s strategy is clear: If Congress doesn’t adopt his agenda, he’ll do it himself. The expansion of executive power is on display again with the president’s plan to virtually stop enforcing immigration laws.
Congress failed to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, because opponents worry it is a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Instead of making the case for the act, which would give illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children an easier path to citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military, Obama is bypassing the legislative branch and enacting by executive order something that very closely resembles the proposed act, only bigger.
Last week, the Obama administration announced that the government would stop deporting illegal immigrants who aren’t a threat to public safety. In addition, it will review 300,000 illegal immigrant cases currently in deportation proceedings.
Giving so many illegal immigrants a free pass without requiring them to earn their place here will only encourage more illegal immigration. U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican from Michigan’s Harrison Township, told The Detroit News this is “a blatant attempt to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal aliens in this country and is totally unacceptable.”
Obama has said he’s searching for allies in Congress to help him pass a new immigration law. But it sure doesn’t look that way.
As James Carafano, an expert in defense and homeland security at the Heritage Foundation observes, “It is difficult to imagine how the president believes he is going to find ‘partners in Congress’ by refusing to enforce immigration law against the majority of those who are in violation of the law.”
A lack of congressional partners has not deterred the president on a variety of fronts. Obama effectively rewrote bankruptcy rules to facilitate the automotive bailout, relieving the legislative branch of its responsibility to write laws. Carbon cap-and-trade failed to get through Congress, but now it’s being steadily implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Frustrated by Congress’ failure to restructure the No Child Left Behind Act, Obama went around lawmakers and issued an executive order that significantly reshapes a law originally drafted by Congress.
He has also appointed at least 30 “czars” who serve as de facto cabinet officers, in charge of everything from AIDS to Afghanistan, without the inconvenience of the Senate’s advise and consent process.
When President George W. Bush was using the threat from terrorism to expand the powers of the presidency, the left howled, and rightly so.
But Bush’s power grabs pale in comparison to Obama’s.
A self-respecting Congress would act to protect its authority from being usurped by the executive branch.
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