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The Petulance of the Obama Administration On Immigration

The Supreme Court issued its ruling on SB 1070, the Arizona immigration statute, yesterday.  The decision comes approximately a week after President Obama declared his unilateral decision to refrain from deporting certain persons in the United States illegally.  Now, after the Court’s ruling, the Administration has announced it will not play ball with Arizona in its attempts to enforce the portions of the Arizona law that the Supreme Court declared constitutional.  The actions of Obama and his minions in the Executive Branch should be appalling to Americans who are paying attention.

Border Patrol Agent at work

To start, President Obama’s unilateral decision to institute the DREAM Act – without the authority of a law passed during the deliberative legislative process – is arguably unconstitutional on its face.  Nevermind that it treats a select group of people (Hispanics between the ages of 16 and 30) in a special way and suggests racial profiling against groups other than Hispanics.  It also is an affront to both our intelligence and our constitutional form of government. 

I have talked about disingenuous legal sleights of hand used to accomplish things in an illegitimate way on prior occasions.  In this case, Obama is at it again.  Because it would likely be struck down when challenged in the Court system, Obama could not override existing law requiring the deportation of illegal aliens by Executive Order.  Instead, he opted to direct his Homeland Security Department to simply move those in the proper demographic to a lower priority in their enforcement efforts as a form of prosecutorial discretion.  In so doing, he has effectively circumnavigated laws on the books without any legal record of having done so and, in large measure, avoided court review that he knows would be adverse.

As if this were not enough, his motives are even worse.  This move was a calculated effort to bridge the gap to November.  He hopes to garner political support from the Hispanic community with these recent moves.  In fact, it has been reported that within hours of announcing his decision a fundraising letter went out to those in the Hispanic community touting the move and asking for donations.  As Senators John Kyl and Marco Rubio, the co-sponsors of the DREAM Act have suggested, the move also effectively makes it impossible to pass the DREAM Act in Congress this year.  Obama was no doubt aware of this and sought to block a potentially big political victory for his opposition that would cut into his already shrinking base.

United States Supreme Court

Superimposed on this is the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. United States.  The decision arrived at the Supreme Court after the Obama Administration challenged the Arizona law in court by arguing that federal law preempted state law on this subject.  In simpler terms, the Obama Administration argued that the Constitution gave the federal government the sole power to enforce immigration laws and that its role in the areas SB 1070 addressed were, among other things, so pervasive that the state’s law was unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court agreed on 3 of 4 counts.  It only upheld the right of Arizona law enforcement to inquire during an otherwise lawful stop whether someone is in the country legally if there is reasonable suspicion to the contrary.

The Obama Administration’s almost immediate response?  We are no longer going to abide by the agreements the federal government has with Arizona to ensure immigration laws are enforced.  In other words, we don’t like that you challenged us and won, so we are going to punish you – the Chicago way.  In an irony of ironies, the Obama Administration won a portion of the Arizona immigration case by arguing it was in the federal government’s purview to enforce immigration laws and that they would handle it.  Now they are declaring, quite clearly, that they have no intention of enforcing the very law they said was their responsibility except to the extent it benefits them politically and personally.  Last I checked, this sort of self-serving politics was something even Democrats opposed.  Remember “Bush’s war for oil”?

As the election gets closer by the day, Obama and his political team get more petulant and child-like.  The recent moves on immigration are the ultimate expression of the ends justifying the means in their eyes.  Most importantly, however, Obama’s actions are a soft form of tyranny by which one man becomes the rule of law.  This is not what the Founders intended or Americans who are paying attention should want.  God willing, real change is coming in November.


About Josh Quinter

I am a politcally active private practice attorney in Suburban Philadelphia.


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