Sorry Conservatives, Obama is Not Acting Lawlessly on Immigration


Conservatives are united in their outrage over King President Obama's proclamation last week that he'll use his

King Obama
SS&SS / Foter / Creative Commons

executive authority to hand temporary legal status to unauthorized foreigners in legal limbo after Congress skipped town without doing anything on immigration reform. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat  accused Obama of "domestic Caesarism." Even folks who are generally sympathetic to more open border policies are troubled by Obama's unilateral rewriting of the nation's immigration laws through "selective enforcement," a pattern that began with Obamacare. If Obama can ignore the will of Congress that refused even to pass the Dream Act, can a Republican president simply decide that America's corporate taxes are too high and unilaterally slash them to make America more globally competitive without congressional authorization?

It is a powerful argument, till one gets into the bowels of immigration law where it becomes stinkingly clear that immigration is different. Unlike health care or tax law, on immigration Congress has made Obama Caesar, I suggest in the Washington Examiner this morning.

"The Immigration and Nationality Act and other laws are chock-full of huge grants of statutory authority to the president," notes Margaret Stock, a Republican immigration lawyer and member of the Federalist Society. "Congress gave the president all these powers, and now they are upset because he wants to use them."

Far from acting lawlessly, nothing Obama has proposed is outside his prosecutorial discretion. The real mystery is not why Obama is doing so much, but why he isn't doing more to offer relief to the victims of our insane immigration system.

Go here to read the whole Washington Examiner piece.