President Obama’s June 15 decree freeing at least 800,000 young illegal immigrants from possible deportation should be debated far more on executive overreach than on problems resulting from years of poor policing of the nation’s borders. As predicted by many, the loose immigration policies resulted in additional problems (crime, welfare, polarization, young immigrants, etc.). It also created a crisis, something always presenting an opportunity for aspiring power seekers of power to do some more damage.
The more fundamental issue that should be uppermost in the minds of people who care about freedom isn’t the plight of those children of illegal immigrants who have committed no crime. Instead, it should be: Where does a President derive power to make law? Frame it another way and ask: How much longer will the legislative and judicial branches permit Presidents to ignore constitutional restraints on what they are permitted to do?
The latest action by President Obama granting a form of amnesty to so many brought to mind a remarkable column penned in 1999 by Clinton-era Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Addressing concerns that the imminent impeachment trial of President Clinton would deadlock Congress and destroy any opportunities to address other issues, Reich’s column contained the headline, “Trial ties up Senate? Don’t Worry, Congress is irrelevant.” Yes, irrelevant.
Claiming that Congress was almost dormant, Reich offered, “America’s domestic policy is being run by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve.” He added that “America’s foreign policy is now being run by the International Monetary Fund with some coaching from the Treasury Department.” And, for good measure, he noted that “when the president decides to go to war, he no longer needs a declaration of war from Congress, he just calls up a few generals ... and sends in the bombers.”
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