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Reacting to amnesty

Reacting to amnesty

There’s a reason Congress hasn’t done much about it.

Congress been mulling over some sort of amnesty plan for illegal immigrants for a very long time, whether it’s been called “amnesty” or whether euphemisms are used to substitute for the word.

But there’s a reason Congress hasn’t done much about it, and that’s because the American people don’t want it and Congress is at least somewhat responsive to the people, despite the fact that many politicians and those who give them money are more interested in amnesty than the general public is.

Past presidents have understand that, too, and have also understood that it’s Congress that needs to deal with this for the most part. Until now.

Now we have a president who has the novel idea of completely ignoring the public during his lame duck years. Most presidents are hampered in their power during lame duck time, and they don’t want to do anything to hurt their party’s standing with the public and therefore their party’s election chances. Obama, again, has the novel idea to ignore the public and hurt his party in the short run for enormous gains in the longer run: a demographic that will be reliably Democratic and will insure the party’s hegemony (not to mention his “legacy” as a transformative president) . At least, that’s the calculation.

All the Democratic impeachment chatter (“watch out, the evil Republicans are planning to impeach me, aren’t they mean and aren’t they silly?”) is both an attempt to head outrage off at the pass and to pre-characterize it as inappropriate and hateful, and a simultaneous tacit acknowledgement of the tyrannical nature of what Obama is contemplating.

I’m with Patterico on this:

…Americans are generally rationally ignorant of constitutional processes, and impeachment polls badly as a result. They don’t really care whether Obama exceeds his lawful authority if they like what he’s doing…

We get the government we deserve. The idea that the Constitution restrains the branches is pretty much dead; its provisions don’t matter when the public is unwilling to back the side whose territory is being infringed.

I would add that a Congress, and a Democratic Party, that doesn’t understand the dangers to the republic and ultimately to themselves and their power as a legislative body is also a huge part of the problem. As for Democrats joining in voicing alarm about Obama’s plans for amnesty by executive decree, dare we hope that Ed Schultz’s criticism today is part of a new trend? It’s a longshot, but who would have thought Schutlz, of all people, would speak out this way? Granted, his objections were mostly that American workers would be hurt by amnesty, so it won’t be politically popular, but he also managed to voice a mild objection to “one man [having] that much power.”

Jennifer Rubin has some ideas for how the Republicans should react if Obama goes ahead with this:

Republicans should prepare a game plan, not merely rule out impeachment (which is the president’s fondest desire). For starters, they and the GOP candidates for 2016 should make clear that any executive order will disappear at the end of Obama’s term and any who step forward for exemptions now may be subject to deportation in 2 1 /2 years…

…The House — and the Senate if it changes hands — can censure the president and pass legislation to countermand the presidential edicts, let him veto it and then try to override it. Congress can contain whatever enforcement provisions it sees fit that go beyond the president’s edict. Congress can defund parts of the bureaucracy engaged in this lawless action (again, the Senate would join the House if Republicans take over)…Depending on the outcome of the fall election, the Senate could choose to decline to confirm nominees for the remainder of his term if the president is bent on rewriting our laws. In essence, the Obama presidency apart from national security/foreign policy should be declared effectively over.

Sounds like a plan. Let’s see if the Republicans have the courage to implement it.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Obama’s moves are laughably telegraphed yet Republicans just walk straight into his punches.

It’s stupidly obvious what is going to happen.

Around September or October, Obama is going to announce that this ‘crisis’ has reached it’s max and that it’s time he ‘did something about it’.

He’s going to announce blanket amnesty because Congress ‘won’t act’, and in the same sentence he’s going to taunt the Republicans to ‘impeach him for doing the right thing’. The Republicans will back down and do nothing to challenge him because Boehner has no balls to actually DO anything.

The idiotic Republicans have let this play on for so long that they literally have nothing they can do. Democrats won’t let Obama be impeached no matter how illegal his actions. I’m convinced that Obama could kill somebody on the White House lawn on camera and the Democrats wouldn’t impeach him. So Obama can do whatever he wants, no matter how illegal, and the Republicans will do nothing.

    walls in reply to Olinser. | July 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Sadly, you are correct on all counts.

    Think38 in reply to Olinser. | July 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    “I’m convinced that Obama could kill somebody on the White House lawn on camera and the Democrats wouldn’t impeach him.”

    So how do the Republicans impeach him (and remove him from office) without convincing some Democratic senators to go along with them? Unless you have the Senate votes, impeachment is not an option.

      platypus in reply to Think38. | July 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Impeachment is solely up to the House. The time period between voting articles of impeachment and the rendering of the verdict is for politicking to convince people that he deserves to be removed. That interim time period is when Democrat senators get blowback from their constituents to convict.

        Estragon in reply to platypus. | July 30, 2014 at 11:37 pm

        What color is the sky in your world?

        NO Democratic politician who wants a future in his party will EVER support (or as a Representative vote for impeachment, or as Senator to convict) the removal of the first black President. Not going to happen.

        The public was way against Clinton when the Monica thing broke. But with media cooperation, he turned the investigation into the issue, and for the only time in a century, his party actually gained House seats in the 6th year midterm.

        Only idiots would risk taking back the Senate and getting more budget influence and the ability to block the worst judicial appointments to appease their anger.

        DaveGinOly in reply to platypus. | July 31, 2014 at 12:06 am

        I think you’re absolutely correct. The House has no obligation to protect Senators from having to lay it on the line, and they do have an obligation to impeach the president if they believe he is violating his oath of office. If they fail to start impeachment proceedings, they too will be in violation of their oaths of office to support the Constitution against its domestic enemies.

        Once the impeachment goes to the Senate, Senators will be on the spot to come down in favor of the Constitution or against it, and will have pause to consider what could happen in the future should a Republican president ever decide to behave like Obama. That and history will be looking over their shoulders. Who wants to go down in history as responsible for the final destruction of the Republic and the Constitution, and the institution of an imperial presidency? Americans may not understand constitutional process, but if they can be made to understand the threat to the Constitution, their sense of propriety and respect for tradition and law should bring enough of them around to understand this has to be done.

    Erudite Mavin in reply to Olinser. | July 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    When you say the Republicans have done nothing, that is not only false but a statement of not understanding how our government works.
    The Republican House has sent to the Harry Reid Democrat Senate over 340 bills which will never be passed because Harry Reid and the Democrat Majority are sitting on them.

    The Republicans in the House especially chairman Issa have lead the way in hearings re the various Obama scandals.
    while being kneecapped with stonewalling, slow walking, total redacted docs, lies from witnesses, etc.
    but pushing on to expose Obama and his administration.

    The key is for the Republicans to win the Senate in Nov. and then the Republicans will have both houses and can pass
    bills and more.

    Too bad the all or nothing pures sat at home or voted third party in 08 and 12 to enable Obama’s presidency

    Erudite Mavin in reply to Olinser. | July 30, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    No, those who don’t have balls are the ones who believed that it didn’t make any difference who was elected to justify their adolescent mindset and by sitting home or voting third party, they enabled Obama’s presidency

There are too many illegals here … and some have been here for decades. I’d like to see them all go. I’d like to see us try.

Too many Americans are complicit in hiring illegal landscapers, restaurants hiring illegal staff, etc.

We need to end birthright citizenship retroactively, and if we can redo Dredd Scott, we need to redo communities are responsible to educate illegals. It is simply morally wrong to reward lawbreakers with citizenship and work permits, and it is morally wrong to have the American taxpayer pay for the family that jumps the fence. We are witnessing the drastic changing of America – and our children will be the worse off for it.

    platypus in reply to walls. | July 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Actually and ironically, Dred Scott is the case that proves the POTUS has no jurisdiction over illegal entrants. More important is that Dred Scott was correctly decided (albeit on shaky grounds) and the 13th, 14th, and 15th did not over-rule its holding – that access to the federal courts is limited by law.

We didn’t want the bank bailouts, the stimulus passed or the ACA either and managed to have congress shove it down our throats. So why should our opinion matter now? They are our self-appointed “betters” or so they say.

Rubin’s idea is decent. Stress the fact that any EO can be easily undone by the next president. Live by the EO. Die by the EO.

Knowing that, anyone who relies on an EO for lawful authority to stay in this country has an awfully thin reed. Article I, section 1 is pretty powerful and pretty clear. “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress,” with NONE in the presidency. All means all and that’s all that all means.

Then the GOP should begin a massive education program and the one and only purpose of a written constitution. Viz., that first and foremost that the created government should abide by the law, and be limited as set forth expressly. Such an educational effort is looooooooooooooong overdue.

In fact, that’s exactly what TJ himself would do. “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

    tom swift in reply to pfg. | July 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    that’s exactly what TJ himself would do … “if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education”

    A development somewhat after TJ’s day – universal suffrage – pretty much ended any serious possibility of that. At one time, voters were people who actually owned the country. This does not mean that early America was a plutocracy; most property owners owned very small pieces of the country, most commonly their own farms. They generally saw little attraction in voting for those who would follow policies which might benefit the voter as an individual, but would damage his investment in the country itself. Today, well, not so much.

“For starters, they and the GOP candidates for 2016 should make clear that any executive order will disappear at the end of Obama’s term and any who step forward for exemptions now may be subject to deportation in 2 1 /2 years”

This would turn into a voter registration drive for the DNC. If you want to stay then vote for us.

You have to ask first: why would amnesty even be a consideration on the table in the first place.

I posted this on the top line, but seems pertinent here too. The business end of illegal immigration.

stevewhitemd | July 30, 2014 at 6:01 pm

It’s not clear to me that if a Pub president in 2017 un-did Champ’s 2014 EO granting amnesty, that the courts would allow it to pass muster.

Most EO’s can be revoked because most are technical, about small policies, etc.

But if ‘we’ (meaning Champ) grant millions of people legal status in 2014 and then try to revoke it in 2017, that means millions of people are now ‘illegal’ (again). Courts take a dim view of “taking away” a person’s rights. The EO doesn’t have the force of statutory law, of course, but show me the judges that will stand firm on this.

No, we’ll get some mush about how the people affected by this, having been made ‘legs’ at one point in time, are now forever legal.

So Ms. Rubin’s idea might not work.

    tom swift in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Executive orders are just directions issued to departments and employees of the Executive. When Taft fixed the dimensions of the American flag by executive order, he didn’t make non-complying flags illegal; his order simply told big flag-buyers like the Post Office and the military which flags to buy. Other executive orders have greater effects. FDR’s executive order for Americans of recent foreign descent (most infamously Japanese, but German- and Italian-Americans were not unaffected) was an order issued to a branch of the War Dept (later the Dept of Defense). It had no effect on, say, police departments or state National Guards. Similarly, an import ban on certain guns is actually an Executive Order directing the federal agencies which oversee imports to prevent certain imports by regulation, rather than by legislation. Because of the tumor-like spread of the federal government (and mainly the Executive department) throughout American civilization, non-legislative control is both pervasive and very difficult for Congress to regulate.

    Observer in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 30, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I’d like to see the states take a stand on this. Governors could announce that their states will not recognize any so-called legal status derived from Obama’s amnesty-by-executive orders, since the orders clearly exceed Obama’s constitutional authority and are therefore legally invalid. It wouldn’t mean the illegal alien would be deported (since that is still a federal duty), but it could keep them from getting jobs and/or state benefits that require legal residency.

    Milhouse in reply to stevewhitemd. | August 1, 2014 at 4:30 am

    All executive orders can be rescinded by the next president. 0bama can’t grant anyone legal status; his order would merely be not to deport them. Their presence would remain every bit as illegal as they are now, so the next president can just as easily order them deported.

We have a border problem, not a amnesty problem. This is a Republic and the people elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives. The majority of Americans have wanted our borders controlled allowing only legal immigrants into this country. The laws to do this are already on the books but are they being purposefully ignored by both Democrat and Republican politicians. The people of this country want a fence, a wall, electronic surveillance or whatever it takes to control the borders but both Republican and Democrat politicians ignore the people just like the way they ignore the law.
The illegals are not responsible for this problem and the American people are not responsible. Our Republican and Democrat lawmakers are responsible and our Presidents of both parties are responsible to see that are existing laws are enforced.
Why is it we can afford billions for humanitarian aid for a problem our leaders have caused and promote but we can’t afford to control our border?
Why are the leaders of both Parties in seeming collusion to destroy the sovereignty of this country. If you want proof of a conspiracy you don’t have to look any further than this.
Watch what our leaders do and not what they say and you have all the proof you need that our Country’s leadership is riddled with traitors.
These are strong words but explain this situation another way if you can, but you can’t. All we hear is excuses when they even bother to answer the concerns of the people but never, never any decisive solutions.
How long are you going to take it? The clock is ticking.

    walls in reply to arnonerik. | July 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    “The people of this country want a fence, a wall, electronic surveillance or whatever it takes …”

    I’ll take machine gun towers and a W I D E minefield. Unless we get serious with punishment and enforceability, they will continue to come, get wrist slapped, and ignore their court hearings. And as a country, we are screwed.

Boehner the Copper-Skinned Eunuch will do nothing.

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | July 30, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Were Obama to grant amnesty to all those many illegal immigrants, would that be considered to be an act of pardon for the crime of coming here illegally? If so, then an impeachment would be well after the fact and do nothing to overturn Obama’s mass pardons, since the president’s right of pardon is absolute!

However, if that act of granting amnesty were not considered pardons, my guess is that the next president could remove that grant of amnesty: “Oops, you’re still an illegal, bye, bye!”

The amnesty question is, IMHO, quite different from the question of Obama’s improper and illegal changes to federal laws, like his many changes to the ACA. Those illegal acts can be clearly overturned with some great effort by Congress.

One question the Democrats need to answer is whether they wish Obama’s executive law changes to stand, knowing that a GOP president would do that same kind of thing, especially that “right” would be based on the precedent of Obama’s executive order changes to law.’

    No, it would not be a pardon, but even if it were, that would only prevent them from being prosecuted for illegal entry; it would not prevent them from being deported for illegal presence.

Yes, it could be undone, although how it might affect those who “get in under it” first is debatable and open.

However, it could be warned today that those who take the Obama “amnesty by fiat” will be forever barred from any “path to citizenship” without returning to their country of origin as specified by law.

Obama might be able to “legalize” some people, he cannot make them suddenly eligible for citizenship.

    Milhouse in reply to Estragon. | August 1, 2014 at 4:33 am

    It’s not debatable. 0bama’s order to his DHS not to deport them would not in any way prevent Walker from ordering his DHS to deport them.

The White House further demanded that President Barack Obama be impeached immediately and his martyrdom be spoken of throughout the land with reverence.