Obama’s Immigration Plan: Legal or Illegal?

Obama Giving Speech

President Obama’s recently-announced policy pertaining to illegal immigrants certainly has caused an uproar among certain populations within the USA. Republicans and/or Conservatives who opine for pay aren’t hesitating to give their opinions on Obama’s new use of prosecutorial discretion. Some such pundits even opined about President Obama’s new policy before Obama announced it.

For example, hours before President Obama gave his 11/20/14 televised address about illegal immigration, Andrew C. McCarthy proclaimed the following:

As you listen to the president try to explain himself tonight, you are going to hear a lot about how his plan is just a sensible exercise of prosecutorial discretion — how he is just using the sparse resources Congress gives him to enforce the law in more efficient ways. It will sound unobjectionable — even appealing.

But understand, it will be lawless and an invitation to waves of law-breaking. Obama is not merely prioritizing crimes; he is equating his non-enforcement of congressional statutes with the repeal of those statutes. He is not merely ignoring some lawbreakers so he can pursue others; he is declaring that categories of non-Americans of Obama’s unilateral choosing have a right to break our laws and be rewarded for it.

Well, I listened to President Obama’s televised address (and read it, too), and I discovered that McCarthy was wrong about it. I did not hear what McCarthy said I would hear.

What President Obama said was this (paraphrasing): His administration would use prosecutorial discretion by refraining from deporting certain non-threatening illegal immigrants so that they can move out of the shadows and get right with the Law. President Obama specifically said that he favored a bill passed by the U.S. Senate that would require such illegal immigrants to pay a fine, to start paying taxes and to go to the back of the line of the legal immigration process.

One reason that President Obama has announced this policy is because he doesn’t want to needlessly break-up families, depriving children of their parents.

Apparently, President Obama is trying to conform to the teaching of the ancient Jewish prophet Micah, who said the following:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

By the way, if you want to know what gives President Obama the legal authority to do what he is doing, then I suggest that you read the joint letter that ten prominent legal scholars wrote about that subject. Here is how that letter begins:

We are law professors and lawyers who teach, study, and practice constitutional law and related subjects. We have reviewed the executive actions taken by the President on November 20, 2014, to establish priorities for removing undocumented noncitizens from the United States and to make deferred action available to certain noncitizens. While we differ among ourselves on many issues relating to Presidential power and immigration policy, we are all of the view that these actions are lawful. They are exercises of prosecutorial discretion that are consistent with governing law and with the policies that Congress has expressed in the statutes that it has enacted.

Also, in a commentary dated 20 November 2014, George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin writes, “Obama’s decision to defer deportation is in line with those of past presidents, and well within the scope of his authority.” He also writes, “I am no fan of the Obama administration’s approach to constitutional interpretation. In too many instances, the president really has acted illegally and undermined the rule of law – most notably by starting wars without congressional authorization. But today’s decision isn’t one of them.”

Finally, for what it’s worth …

Although President Obama is fallible, his critics are fallible, too. So, criticisms of President Obama should be taken with a grain of salt …

Grain of Salt

… or if you have high blood pressure, with a shot of whisky.


The dilemma of false narratives
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