Ed O’Keefe, Congressional reporter for the Washington Post, tweets that the White House chief of staff will meet with Senate Democrats on Thursday:
SCOOP: Senate Democrats to huddle on Thursday with WH Chief of Staff Denis R. McDonough…
— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) November 18, 2014
Most in Washington think that this presages President Obama’s long-awaited announcement that he is repealing the nation’s immigration laws by executive fiat, one of the strongest challenges to the Constitution in our history. The president’s most fundamental duty under Article II of the Constitution is to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Obama intends to violate this duty by systematically refusing to execute the immigration laws and, instead, selectively repealing them to suit his party’s political interests. This is not “prosecutorial discretion,” this is unconstitutional usurpation.
The press naturally will mis-report the effects of Obama’s decree. It will be said that Obama has shielded five million illegals from deportation. Does that mean that the other six or seven million illegal immigrants will be deported? Of course not. A Senate source writes:
As Obama’s own former ICE director explained, the President has already suspended enforcement for nearly all of the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants: “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”
In 2011, ICE issued directives (the Morton Memos) that largely immunized the entire illegal immigrant population. Consider the very routine case of Danny’s Car Wash in Phoenix – 179 illegal immigrants apprehended by federal authorities were summarily released because they did not fit agency “priorities”. Or consider the case of the ICE officer who faced suspension for trying to deport an adult illegal immigrant with multiple criminal offenses on his record – managers threatened the officer and ordered the illegal immigrant freed because he did fit agency “priorities”. The estimated 5 million illegal immigrants who would be officially covered by the President’s order could all turn themselves into ICE tomorrow and the agency’s “priorities” would dictate that they be immediately freed without charges.
Which does not mean that Obama’s usurpation will be without consequences:
So what will the President’s executive amnesty do? The President’s action will take 5 million illegals from a population of nearly 12 million in the interior who are immunized from enforcement and extend to those 5 the same amnesty benefits provided to DREAMers: work permits, benefits access, photo IDs, and Social Security numbers. It is a formal administrative amnesty – implementing by fiat that which was rejected by Congress and the voters. It will incentivize a “tidal wave” of illegal immigration and cement the idea that anyone in the world is free to come to the U.S., violate its laws, and take jobs and benefits from U.S. citizens and taxpayers in perpetuity.
It is natural that Obama should have so much sympathy for law-breakers, since he is a scofflaw himself–immigration is just one of many instances of his contempt for the rule of law. Michael Ramirez makes the point:
How should Republicans respond to Obama’s lawlessness? That is too big a topic for this post, but to begin with, it seems clear that Congress can pass a continuing resolution that prohibits spending to implement Obama’s illegal decree–ID cards, for example, could not be printed. Will such a measure pass the Senate? It might, if Democrats who have to face the electorate in 2016 vote for it. Amnesty is massively unpopular. In any event, help is on the way. The GOP will take control of the Senate in two months.