President Obama Says It's Someone Else's Fault Immigration Reform Hasn't Happened Yet, Will Do His Best to Pretend to Do Something


Yesterday President Obama announced he would be taking unilateral action on immigration reform after being told by Speaker John Boehner that the House of Representatives would not be considering an immigration reform bill this session. "I don't prefer taking administrative action.  I'd rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face… I would love nothing more than bipartisan legislation to pass the House, the Senate, land on my desk so I can sign it.  That's true about immigration, that's true about the minimum wage, it's true about equal pay," the president said at the Rose Garden yesterday, once again conflating his political preferences with Congress' prerogative.

The three branches of government, as the constitutional law professor-cum-president surely knows, are meant to be co-equal. That the president would like Congress to do something doesn't obligate Congress to act. Congress' failure to act, in turn, doesn't create any new right or opportunity for the president to act. This is all stuff it would be impossible for the president not to know.  Nevertheless, it's not about what he knows or doesn't know or even about the substance of the rhetoric but rather just the rhetoric and the emotional reactions it can produce.

To that end, President Obama's announcement is rather unsubstantial. What will the president do about immigration six years after taking office and while presiding over more deportations of illegal immigrants than any other president in U.S. history? He's going to ask his attorney general, Eric Holder, and the secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, to move "appropriate resources" from the interior to the border in order to "keep our border secure." This, for those keeping score at home, is actually the president's obligation. The executive branch is supposed to enforce the law. The White House has a lot of leeway on how federal law enforcement assets are deployed—he didn't need Congress to secure the border and could have asked for resources to be redeployed at any time in the last six years. Instead, his administration has been busy running border security checkpoints as far as 90 miles from any international borders.

What else will the president do as he promises to act "aggressively" on immigration reform? He's going to ask Holder and Johnson to recommend some things. He's hoping to hear back by the end of the summer. He hasn't asked them already—it doesn't sound like he asked them after deciding to declare he was taking unilateral, nor any time in the last six years as he's paid lip service to immigration reform being an important issue. So now the president's top men will spend the summer brainstorming solutions to immigration reform.

From a president whose taken the idea of an imperial executive branch to new heights—military actions are taken without even going through the motions of seeking Congressional authorization, waivers are granted on federal legislation ranging from No Child Left Behind to the Affordable Care Act, kill lists are decided on Tuesdays—comes the most flaccid of "action" on immigration reform. President Obama and his White House team failed to negotiate a deal with Congress on immigration. Now it looks like they're trying to fail all on their own, too.

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  1. “I don’t prefer taking administrative action.”

    that’s going to require a citation. Nothing is ever Obama’s fault. He had a Dem majority in both chambers and decided to do nothing about immigration. Before him, Bush had 6 years of GOP majorities and beyond a failed effort at amnesty, did nothing.

    As it is, we’re faced with a situation largely of the president’s own making. All those folks who’ve shown up didn’t do so on a whim or because they shared notes and thought Spring/Summer 2014 would be the right time. They showed up in anticipation of amnesty and the rule of incentives would mean that if they were correct, we could expect an even larger cohort to follow in search of the same outcome.

    1. “I don’t prefer taking administrative action”. Sounds like my wife. “I don’t want to do what you dislike, so just agree with me and no problem.”

      1. dude.

  2. “He’s going to ask his attorney general, Eric Holder, and the secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, to move “appropriate resources” from the interior to the border in order to “keep our border secure.””

    Maybe if they didn’t spend time tossing kids in jail for smoking a joint, why…

  3. “So now the president’s top men will…”

    Say no more! Top. Men. That’s all I need to know is that Top. Men. Are looking at it.

    I can sleep well now.

  4. “I don’t prefer taking administrative action.”

    Says our imperial president. We have six years of your administration that begs to differ. What bullshit.

  5. Thanks, Ed, for regurgitating the GOP talking point that immigration reform is all about only border security. Its not…its about more, including final disposition of all those who are here already illegally. I know you and the right would love for it be that simple, but its not, and therefore requires Congressional action…something Boehner has abdicated.

    Get over it…if “President Rand Paul” took executive action to limit persecution of pot offenses, you would be singing his praises. Sadly, he doesn’t even take Congressional action, and you give him a psss.

    1. I see what you’re saying. BUT.

      I doubt most Republicans would be upset with amnesty if there were actual border security.

      The Democrats really need to come to the table and make the Republicans happy on this, because it is political suicide for them to grant amnesty or anything even close to it without securing the borders and ensuring our welfare state isn’t extended to those coming here from other countries.

      1. You’re right. A deal should be able to be made, but its tough to make a deal when Boehner says outright nothing will be done this year.

        1. It’s tough to make any kind of deal when the leader of the other side has granted himself the right to simply nullify the parts of the deal he finds inconvenient.

          There’s a very practical reason that nations have learned not to shoot people who surrender, even when they’re bastards who might not return the courtesy. Once word gets out that you do that, every fight becomes a fight to the bitter end.

          1. Fine. Now the right wing, including so many supposed Libertarians, are going to have to convince the Latin American community in the US that it was the President’s fault, and that Boehner was just righteous in his refusal to bring it up for the rest of the year.

            Good luck with that.

            1. The president didn’t do anything when the dems owned both the house and the senate. So it is sort of his fault.

              Some of the illegals who are being housed near the borders have already told the authorities that Obama’s (illegal) immigration policies encourage them to cross the border.

              1. Like I said above, fine. You will never convince the Latino community here that failure for passing immigration reform falls on the President’s (or Democrat’s) shoulders.

                The GOP will be paying a price for this for a long time. But have at it.

                1. You sound so whiny when you write like that.

                  Oh, no… the right wing libertarians are going to have to convince the Latinos that Obama is bad because Boehner and…..


                  I’ll let you and the democrats and republicans worry about themselves. You’re doing a smash-up job so far.

                  1. And we’ll let you sit on the sidelines like you always do, just throwing darts at everyone else. Its so easy to complain about everyone else when you do nothing.

      2. Actually there’s only one order in which to do immigration reform:

        1. Figure out what the legal immigration situation should be.
        2. Figure out how much enforcement you need to make #1 not completely meaningless.
        3. Figure out what to do about people who got into the country before #2 happened.

        They don’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) done at the same time. But doing them in any other order means you’ll be disappointed.

        The more open the legal immigration pathway is, the cheaper dissuading people from trying the illegal route is. At one extreme, open immigration (or very low standards) means you don’t actually need to deal with #2 or #3. At the other extreme, trying to further reduce legal migration limits means that closing off illegal immigration will be that much harder.

        1. And interestingly enough, number one and two need Congressional action, and probably even number two.

          Tell it to Ed. He thinks the President should do all three.

          1. Sorry, one and three need C action.

          2. Yeah, tell him! Tell him, I say!

    2. Don’t thank me, thank Obama!

      1. Just giving credit where credit is due. You tell us that he has deported more than any other President, and then tell us that he doesn’t enforce the law. And yet your whole article never mentions anything about all the other issues on immigration, only border security, as if that solves the problem, and therefor only in the President’s purview. Really, simple take.

        Sounds like the GOP to me.

        1. Obama’s record deportation number is a myth. The numbers are inflated because it included illegals freshly picked up illegals who were simply transferred to ICE.

          It’s not his fault most of the Americas is a hellhole, but his party favors policy that increasingly makes it easier for illegals to either stay or come unannounced. The guy gifted a 2 year freeze on deportation for some illegals and that gave more incentives for Latin Americans to sneak in.

          That actually made news in Asia as well. Obama basically hung a “welcome” sign for increased illegal immigration.

          1. In the first place, its Ed who gave Obama credit for the deportations.

            Secondly, its really meaningless for either of us to parse out the blame for failed immigration reform, unless you are a Latino…I’m not.

            That is the community (voting bloc) who will ultimately judge which party is to blame, and its not going to be the Democrats who get the blame.

            And personally, I believe it shouldn’t be…buy I am sure you and I disagree about that.

        2. Jack….DID YOU NOT READ THE ARTICLE!! It mentioned the response from the President was lame, and said all he mentioned was border security, and then said he’d get the border secure and get Eric “Gun Runner” Holder to look into other issues. The whole point of the article was how the President was not considering all the issues. It did not say that was the only issue that should be considered, only that he should have secured the border all along, since that is his job.

          Sheesh…you guys cannot actually hear anything about your feckless leader, can you?

          1. Yeah, I read the article, pulseguy. Did you comprehend it? The whole point is that the President is in fact doing the things he is supposed to (that would be enforce the law), and if immigration reform is to happen it has to happen in Congress.

            Or don’t you and Ed understand that simple fact.

            Here…in 2007 a law was passed (after Bush failed to do anything on border security, and you know who enforced it? Obama. Doubled the amount of border agents, The 2007 bill proposed to erect 300 miles of vehicle barriers, 370 miles of fencing, 105 radar and camera towers, and four drones; by 2012, we completed 651 miles of vehicle fencing?including 352 miles of pedestrian fencing and 299 vehicle barriers?300 towers, and nine drones, according to Customs and Border Patrol.

            Oh, and as Ed correctly pointed out, Obama has deported more illegals than any other President.

            And so if you want reform, you got enforcement of the law, how about some Congressional action. Oh that’s right, Boehner said no.

            Great to see so many GOP apologists here. I suggest YOU read what was written and then do a little research.

            1. link for you to read

            2. I suggest YOU read what was written and then do a little research.

              Well, I could try responding the way you do to reason articles.

              However, I’m not sure I have enough caffeine, pseudoephedrine, and meth to get started.

              1. I’ve told you this before, Brian, if you don’t like my comments, don’t read them. A Libertarian principle at work. Unless you are responding to me, I always skip yours.

            3. Thanks for that reply, and its breadth. Glad to see some folks dwelling more in reality than Talking-Points Land. 🙂

    3. I seem to have missed where this article claimed to be a comprehensive treatise on immigration reform.

      1. Jacksand Ace merely hears a negative report on Obama and starts attacking. He can’t actually read anything and then respond.

        It must be really cool to have an O-boner. Any minute of any day you get to be turned on by someone. They’re so lucky.

        1. See my response above about reading…you should try it.

          1. In light of some recent stories on anti-vaccination problems and illegal immigrants with diseases..

            So, how do you guys square the circle with open boarders and mandatory vaccinations for everyone?

            I mean, on the one hand, keeping people out is racist.
            On the other hand, if we let even a single child go unvaccinated, we could all die.

            How does that get sorted out?

            1. Where do you get open borders from? There aren’t any. We’ve made lots of attempts at keeping them closed, and we have improved on that effort…particularly since a Democrat President replaced a GOP one (hope that doesn’t offend your right wing sensibilities).

              Keeping people out is racist? Who exactly says that? Libertarians?

      2. soflarider-

        Really? Read the title of the article:

        “President Obama Says It’s Someone Else’s Fault Immigration REFORM Hasn’t Happened Yet, Will Do His Best to Pretend to Do Something”

        The entire article was supposed to be about immigration reform. Therefore, Ed must think the reform means only border security, because that’s all he talked about.

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  7. He needs to keep away from “Fast and Furious” renegades, so a 90 mile buffer makes sense. That he really doesn’t want to ‘solve” the immigration problem means that waiting throughout the summer for an idea or two also makes sense. I can’t wait the pendulum to swing the other way. . . . A la ” The Pit and the Pendulum” Oofah to this guy!

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