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Is Obama's New Immigration Policy Constitutional?

On Friday, the Obama Administration changed the immigration policy to essentially grant immunity to some illegal immigrants, but some in Congress are already threatening to challenge it.

Time to pose another Midtown question of the day and in doing so, hoping for a little more response than we received with recent questions here and here and here. But maybe they weren't good questions...

Anyway, children who were brought to the United States illegally before the age of 16. The move essentially grants immunity, without granting a path to citizenship, for a reported 800,000 people. 

But there are many in Congress who have spoken out against it, saying the move itself was illegal under the U.S. system and cannot stand. In a press release, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA-07) issued the following statement.

“America is a beacon of freedom in the world and it is no wonder that hundreds of thousands of people each year apply to complete the legal and proper steps to become citizens or permanent residents of this amazing land.  After all, who wouldn’t want to raise their family in the land of opportunity and under the rule of law?  Unfortunately, President Obama’s decision to cease the deportation of potentially millions of illegal immigrants and instead grant them legal work permits—while millions of legal U.S. residents remain unemployed and unable to find work—undermines both the rule of law and the economic opportunity that is America.”

“As of 2011, more than 13.7 million U.S. citizens were unemployed, and today our national unemployment levels remain disappointingly high at 8.2 percent.  How can the President and his Administration offer the few American jobs that are available to those who have come to America illegally rather than those U.S. citizens who have always paid their taxes and played by the rules?”

“With today’s decree, President Obama demonstrates the same contempt for America’s laws that those who enter illegally do.  He is undermining the balance of power laid out by the U.S. Constitution, going far beyond his power within the Executive Branch and advancing his election-year politics at the expense of the American economy and the American people’s trust.”

“I am tremendously proud of America’s history as a nation of immigrants, and I am committed to continuing and improving the legal avenues that allow another generation of legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.  But, as every new American citizen knows, we are a nation of laws, and the U.S. Constitution extends lawmaking power to Congress and Congress alone.  This executive power grab—whether proposed by President Obama, President Romney, or President Reagan—is an unconstitutional act, and I will fight it with every tool at my disposal.”

So, do you think this new order is Constitutional and can it withstand a legal challenge?

Daniel F June 17, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I'm not sure if it bugs me more that the 'question' here is such a reach for attention that it questions Constitutionality of DHS policy (not US Code) long before such legal challenges have even been discussed, much less filed or made it beyond an Appeals court. ...or the silliness of posting a press release from random Congressmen Woodall. Sure, he's got his fiery racist perspective and it prompted him to speak to the press asap...but next time, lets try seeking out a statement from someone who actually reps Midtown. Congressman Lewis is rather vocal on this topic, I'm sure we could find something.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) June 17, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Here's the statement from Rep. John Lewis released by his office: "The action the federal government is taking today is a major step down a very long road that we, as a nation, must travel to reform our immigration system. It is not logical or humane to have 50 different states develop 50 different approaches to immigration policy. It is not a matter for state and local governments; it is a federal issue. And I am glad the president is offering some leadership today by taking a bold and necessary step to begin to right some of the wrongs that have been committed, while simultaneously protecting our borders. This directive affirms that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."
Michael Langford June 17, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Executives have broad discretionary powers not to enforce laws, especially when done uniformly. This is why you don't always necessarily get a speeding ticket when pulled over. Congressmen who are saying otherwise know better.
Ned DeLorme June 17, 2012 at 09:27 PM
@Michael, absolutely false.... Article II, Section 3, Clause 4 of the Constitution, which explicitly requires that “[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This is not a discretionary matter, it is a mandatory directive and duty of the President.
Daniel F June 18, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Thank you, very much!
mark lopez June 18, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Ima get my licence ima get my licence

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