President Obama’s Executive Order

We all know what just happened.  Obama announced on Friday that he would no longer authorize the deportation of children in the country illegally:

(Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children will be able to avoid deportation and get work permits under an order on Friday by President Barack Obama.

I immediately came out in support of the policy and think that the time has long ago passed when we need to craft a better immigration policy here in America.  As I enjoyed the weekend, however, I began to look past the immediate good news of the policy and think through how we got here.

And I don’t like it at all.

The President issued an Executive Order.  By it, he simply stated that he would no longer enforce the deportation of these kids.  He did NOT change their status or any laws that speak to that status.  He just told us what he would do, or not do, with those found in violation of those laws.  I don’t think that rewrote any law or is breaking any laws in doing what he did.

However.  Think this through.

When we make it easier for Presidents to change laws based on discretion of prosecution, what’s to prevent a future President from changing tax law in the same manner:

I now declare that I am instructing my administration to stop prosecuting individuals who fail to pay more than 15% of their income in taxes.

Just like that the President can effectively change tax law without the need to involve congress.

I ask you, is this what we want?

2 responses to “President Obama’s Executive Order

  1. This does have a logic, though – given limited enforcement resources arguably keeping this kids in the US where they may contribute to our culture and economy is good, devoting more towards homeland security, stopping criminals and preventing illegal crossings, drug trade, etc. is good. In other words, the executive branch has leeway to emphasize some kinds of enforcement if it is in the national security. I mean, most highway patrols don’t enforce the speed limit unless someone is five or even ten miles over (on interstates especially). There is logic to that – going 60 in a 55 zone probably isn’t endangering lives, why speed a lot of time stopping minor offenders if you have limited officers? Yet does that mean highway patrols have made the decision to change the speed limit?

    • This does have a logic, though – given limited enforcement resources arguably keeping this kids in the US where they may contribute to our culture and economy is good, devoting more towards homeland security, stopping criminals and preventing illegal crossings, drug trade, etc. is good.

      I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m more and more coming down to the fact that folks are guaranteed equal protection under the law. What if some President just decided to suspend immigration law for folks living in North Carolina?

      Clearly not a good idea.

      While I agree that we need to make changes on immigration law, I am less and less convinced this is the way to do it.

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