President Barack Obama is shrugging off Republican criticism of his actions to lift the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States. In an interview broadcast Obama tells ABC it was important that he “had” to act unilaterally to prioritize the deportation of criminals and recent arrivals and spare those who have lived here illegally for at least five years and have roots, including children who are American citizens. – Associated Press Email 11/24/14
Fact Check: Obama continues to claim that he “had” to act with his arbitrary decree because Congress refused to pass amnesty. The arrogance he expresses is breathtaking. As the law-making body so specified by the Constitution, Congress may act by passing a bill, or it may act by refusing to pass it. In this situation, Obama didn’t like the action of Congress not doing what he wanted, so he ignored Congress and the Constitution and decided on his own to give legal status and work permits to five million illegal aliens.
He further justifies his dictatorial action by claiming that his action merely sets priorities for enforcement, under the legally recognized doctrine of prosecutorial discretion. It allows authorities with limited resources to focus on some lawbreakers while devoting less attention to those who commit less serious crimes.
Obama claims that his goal is to deport illegal aliens who have committed serious felonies while ignoring those who pose less danger to the public. But this is not setting priorities. It is simply telling a large group of violators that enforcement will not touch them—and gives them official sanction with work permits to violate the law against illegal aliens taking jobs in the U.S. In effect, Obama is simply rewriting the law to his liking.
Since he arrived in the White House, Obama has systemically sabotaged immigration law enforcement, first with the “Morton memos” and then with his arbitrary legalization edicts. Ironically, it appears that the administration is significantly failing even to meet its announced priority to expel dangerous felons.
Obama’s claims that only illegal aliens who have been here longer than five years will get the benefits of his decree. Maybe so, maybe not. The truth is that immigration authorities probably won’t be able to screen out most of those who came within the past five years. Contrary to the assertion of illegal alien advocates, illegals are seldom undocumented. Indeed, they are quite skillful in obtaining forged documents to facilitate their stay in America. And false documents showing residency longer than five years won’t be too hard for them to obtain.
Will overburdened and politically pressured immigration officers have the time or inclination to check the documents carefully? Or will they just rubber-stamp most of them? Significant fraud occurred after passage of the 1986 amnesty for nearly three million illegal aliens. And the odds are it will happen again with many more potential applicants, qualified and unqualified.
Last summer the president exclaimed with reference to edict making that “I don’t have to run for office again, so I can just let her rip.” What’s being ripped is the Constitution.