While Republicans in Congress received a share of the blame, a recent Washington Post editorial heaped tremendous criticism onto Barack Obama for his ongoing effort to enact immigration reform in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers.
The paper’s editorial board conceded that Obama’s “frustration is understandable” given what it described as a “hopelessly partisan” Congress.
Nevertheless, the opinion page determined that his intention to bypass legislators to enforce his own policies is a violation of the law – as Obama himself confirmed in a comment last fall.
“If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” he said. “But we’re also a nation of laws.”
As the Post editorial noted, reports indicate that he is now prepared to do exactly what he said he could not do less than a year ago.
“He is considering extending temporary protection from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants,” the board wrote, “including the parents of U.S.-born children and others who have lived in the United States for years.”
Even a dysfunctional Congress, the piece explained, “does not grant the president license to tear up the Constitution.”
The apparent change of heart, the editorial board determined, lies in his determination to rally Democrats ahead of upcoming elections.
Conceivably,” the board suggested, “this would give Democrats a political boost in 2016.”
The editorial stated that such unilateral action could also embolden Republicans already perturbed by Obama’s excessive use of executive power.
“The president should think twice,” the board wrote. “Some of the same Democrats and pro-immigrant advocates urging him to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation would be outraged if a Republican president took a similarly selective approach to enforcing the laws – say, those that guarantee voting rights or prohibit employment discrimination.”
While the Post acknowledged that the nation’s current laws afford Obama some latitude in how illegals are treated once inside the U.S., the editorial insisted that any real change to immigration policy must be made through the proper channels.
“The right response to the collapse of the U.S. immigration system is for Congress to fix the law,” the board concluded, adding that the “right response to lawmakers who won’t solve the immigration mess is to replace them with ones who will.”
Photo credit: Joint Hometown News Service (Flickr)
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.