Reason Debate On DAPA

Two libertarian scholars go toe-to-toe on Obama's immigration executive order


The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week about the legality and constitutionality of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of American Children) — President Obama's controversial executive order that hands temporary legal status to some four million undocumented aliens. Not to be outdone, Reason Foundation arranged its own oral arguments between two pre-eminent libertarian legal scholars, both Russian emigres named Ilya.

Cato Institute's Ilya Shaprio opposed DAPA noting that the kind of en masse relief that the president was offering was unprecedented and tantamount to writing a new law by executive fiat, especially since his order didn't simply offer relief from deportation but also triggered benefits such as work authorization.

Volokh Conspiracy blogger Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, defended the president, making the case that he has both the constitutional and statutory authority to set enforcement priorities on immigration law just as he does on criminal law, especially since there are never enough resources to prosecute all the violations. This is not because there are more violators, but because the government has criminalized too many things.

The Federalist Society kindly taped the epic showdown between the two Ilyas that you can watch here: