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Amnesty or Rule of Law: Which will Prevail?

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In a frightening and brazen power grab, the Obama Administration has announced that they will now choose which immigration laws to enforce, and which to ignore.  This comes at a time when the ACLJ and Members of Congress are just weeks away from going to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the State of Arizona’s right to enforce immigration law.  Ironically, it is the Obama Administration that is suing Arizona and attempting to block that law enforcement.

There are abundant reasons to oppose the Administration’s actions on policy grounds, and I’ll spend just a moment discussing those first. However, the very idea that the President and his team believe they have the authority to ignore the law is far more frightening. 

First, on policy, this is merely a way to enforce the DREAM Act through regulatory mechanisms after it failed to be enacted through the legislative process.  As a quick reminder, the DREAM Act is legislation that would grant amnesty to a certain group of illegal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and are pursuing an education or serving in the military.  The flaws in this approach are numerous, including that it incentivizes breaking the law, encourages  law-breaking activities to continue over an extended period of time, costs an exorbitant amount of taxpayer money, and grants illegal immigrants priority over U.S. citizens in need of assistance.  The DREAM Act was approved by the lame duck U.S. House immediately after the November 2010 elections, but was rejected by the U.S. Senate.

The policy flaws of amnesty-centric legislation like the DREAM Act could fill numerous blog posts, and are the main reason that the U.S. Senate saw fit to reject the bill.  However, the fact that this President is now audacious enough to support a regulatory end-run around the Congress is one of the more shocking abuses of power that Washington, D.C. has experienced in recent memory.

As ACLJ members well know, our Founding Fathers vested the power to legislate in the U.S. Congress under Article I of the Constitution.  Article II grants the President and the Executive Branch limited powers, and mandates in Article II, Section 3 that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Fundamental to the Founders’ framework was the idea that only the directly elected Legislative Branch would be allowed to write the law, and that the President and the Executive bureaucracy would merely enforce that law.  The idea that a President would be permitted to decide not to enforce laws simply because of an ideological disagreement would surely make many of our Founders turn in their graves.

You may or may not agree with the DREAM Act and other amnesty-based polices, but all Americans - including future Americans - should agree that we must stand by the rule of law.  It is the rule of law that enables the freedom and prosperity that draws immigrants to this country in the first place.  We simply must not let any President trample the Founders’ clear intent in this regard.

There is so much more than just immigration policy at stake here.  Our Republic itself hangs in the balance.

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