Obama Attempting to Circumvent the Constitution on Immigration

Fox News ran a story today about my work with Robert Delahunty criticizing President Obama’s DREAM Act executive order on illegal immigration. They also ran a short op-ed of mine, summarizing the study, alongside.

In the piece, I explain why President Obama’s refusal to enforce the immigration laws against up to 1 million illegal immigrants violates his duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, and distinguish it from the Bush Administration’s claim (on which I worked) that Congress could not infringe on the President’s powers to fight a war.

Here there is no claim that the immigration law is unconstitutional, and Obama cannot claim that prosecutorial discretion allows him to waive the law for over 1 million cases at once — otherwise, a President could simply change the law as he wishes by refusing to enforce it. President Romney could cut tax rates just by not prosecuting anyone who pays too little tax.

My sympathies go to the reporter, who had to read the whole law review article!

  1. ShellGamer

    This is what comes of interpreting the Constitution as meaning “Just do the right thing.”

  2. Dave Roy

    When you can’t convince Congress to do what you want, do it all through regulations and lack of enforcement. Why not? Nobody’s going to call you on it.

    In a dream scenario, there would be some consequences for Obama going against the Constitution all the time like he has been the last four years. Unfortunately, probably the best we can hope for is a reversal of all of this.

    Romney had better have a healthy signing hand, for all the EO orders he’s going to have to sign changing all of this.

  3. Aaron Miller

    So what are you going to do about it? It seems the President is going to get away with it.

  4. Garrett Petersen

    That’s why we need to elect Harding/Coolidge–I mean Romney/Ryan.  Sorry, I had a bit of deja vu.

  5. KC Mulville

    We allow executive officials to act with discretion, but the price of discretion is good faith. Once legislators reach an agreement, hard as that may be in the first place, we depend on executive officials to make a good faith effort to carry out the agreement.

    Richard Epstein, among others, makes the point that for all the impersonality of written laws and impersonal “systems,” government is still a human business. It depends on trust and faith.

    The attitude of the Obama administration is that it will do what it thinks best, and what it wants to do. They treat the Congress and written law as, at most, helpful advice – that they feel free to ignore. 

    Of course that’s a broad generalization, and even the most committed Obama-ite wants to obey the law. But we can’t help but look at what’s actually happening. For all their self-assured good intentions, when push comes to shove, this Administration will find a way to do what it wants to do. The DREAM act, Obamacare waivers, stimulus funding, Defense of Marriage, endless regulatory end-arounds … one or two examples may be aberrations, but this is a pattern. 

  6. raycon and lindacon

    Sorry John;  none of this is rocket science.  Obama denigrates and defies the Constitution, and the GOP has no power to stop it, and no guts to call him down on it. 

    Continuing resolutions introduced routinely in the House are the imprimatur of their willingness to approve Obama’s moves.  

    Shut down the government?  Cannot do that.  Ergo; approval.

  7. liberal jim

    Bush selectively enforced immigration laws and lied about it because that was the best for him politically.  Obama selectively enforces the same laws and is truthful about it because that is best for him politically.   I find both men’s actions to be derelict.    

    It seems to me it might be a little late in the game for you to be getting your shorts in a twist about the enforcement of immigration law.  

  8. genferei

    The rules are out the window. So how do we turn this from a bug into a feature? Salt the Republic with ‘Light Touch Zones’, where President Romney declares that, within these zones, Federal regulations will be enforced sparingly, and in accordance with a free-market ethos. Watch these zones thrive, and build their own pressure-groups to keep themselves alive. If necessary, entrench the system with an ‘Independent Regulatory Advisory Board’ whose recommendations can only be reversed by a 2/3 vote of each party, ethnicity and religious affiliation in the US Congress during a full moon in a month starting with J. Put the zones in blue congressional districts to give them a cross-over constituency. Be open to lobbying from all and sundry to extend their number and boundaries. Hoist the statists on their own constitutional petard, for if they successfully challenge these manoeuvres, they are making our point for us.

  9. Red Feline
    Garrett Petersen: That’s why we need to elect Harding/Coolidge–I mean Romney/Ryan.  Sorry, I had a bit of deja vu. · 2 hours ago

    Great articles Professor Yoo! I tweeted them.

    The only thing to do is elect Romney/Ryan. America is fortunate, indeed, that there are two such fine men prepared to give service to their country in what must be the most difficult jobs in the world. They will be guided by a pragmatic view of what is best for the country, rather than an ideology.

  10. outstripp

    Just “leveling the playing field” for the Middle Class.

  11. raycon and lindacon
    genferei: The rules are out the window. So how do we turn this from a bug into a feature? Salt the Republic with ‘Light Touch Zones’, where President Romney declares that, within these zones, Federal regulations will be enforced sparingly, and in accordance with a free-market ethos. Watch these zones thrive, and build their own pressure-groups to keep themselves alive. If necessary, entrench the system with an ‘Independent Regulatory Advisory Board’ whose recommendations can only be reversed by a 2/3 vote of each party, ethnicity and religious affiliation in the US Congress during a full moon in a month starting with J. Put the zones in blue congressional districts to give them a cross-over constituency. Be open to lobbying from all and sundry to extend their number and boundaries. Hoist the statists on their own constitutional petard, for if they successfully challenge these manoeuvres, they are making our point for us. · 28 minutes ago

    Edited 27 minutes ago

    And once having made our point for us, what will be the point then????

  12. raycon and lindacon
    liberal jim: Bush selectively enforced immigration laws and lied about it because that was the best for him politically.  Obama selectively enforces the same laws and is truthful about it because that is best for him politically.   I find both men’s actions to be derelict.    

    It seems to me it might be a little late in the game for you to be getting your shorts in a twist about the enforcement of immigration law.   · 45 minutes ago

    Golly, you are right.  So Bush also skunked the Constitution.  Ever hear of Campaign Finance Reform?  A pox on both of them.

    Now, what do we do that can advance us beyond this stupidity?  I mean something that will actually matter? 

    Bush or Obama?  No that isn’t on the menu. 

    Romney or Obama?  What flavor marginal Constitutional adherence (not likely to get better than marginal)  do you prefer?

  13. liberal jim
    raycon

    liberal jim: 

    Bush or Obama?  No that isn’t on the menu. 

    Romney or Obama?  What flavor marginal Constitutional adherence (not likely to get better than marginal)  do you prefer? · Oct 13 at 11:55am

    I refuse to throw my vote away by simply voting against someone.  Both parties are corrupt and primarily concerned with getting and holding on to power  Reagan is so often referred to on Ricochet because he was the last Republican President who put his country before his party.  I try to make it a practice not to support corrupt people or parties.   Romney may prove in the end not to be a corrupt person, but since he got the nomination of a corrupt party I am inclined to think he is.  People on Ricochet seem to take great pride in saying the GOP is not as bad as the Dems.  That I judge to be the truth, I also think it is pathetic.

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