The thing I found most disconcerting about President Obama’s decision to create a new law without the help of Congress was his explanation for it.
Friday, as you know, Obama unilaterally announced a new class of illegal aliens who are exempt from the nation’s laws regarding deportation, deciding that those who came here illegally before their 16th birthday and have not passed their 30th will not be deported.
One of our readers wondered whether the new legislation required a two thirds vote within the West Wing or just a simple majority. Perhaps it has to be passed both in the East Wing – where the first lady works – and the West Wing before heading to the president for signing.
This frightening new reality – that the president has decided he can create his own laws – was justified in truly Orwellian fashion. In phrasing that would have made Soviet-era Kremlin propagandists glow with fraternal pride, Obama described his new law as a mere administrative reallocation of “resources.”
Here’s what he said Friday:
In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places . . . This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.
Similarly, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano objected that the executive branch need not “blindly” enforce the law, and must use its “discretion.”
Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.
Obama’s true rationale for the new law he has created is that he wants more political support from Latinos, and he didn’t get the legislation from Congress that he wanted. In fact, with respect to the latter issue, he said as much, explaining that . . .
I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.
Language, in the hands of governments desperate to safeguard and enhance their power, is an exceedingly powerful and dangerous thing. Language, in the form of doublespeak, is used to justify all sorts of tyrannies, petty and great, and if repeated often enough can start to evolve from obvious deception into accepted truth.
Think of what the president has done here. Let’s say, if Obama is reelected, the Supreme Court in 2013 decided that there is no right to abortion in the Constitution, and Congress followed up by outlawing the practice.
Can anyone, at this point, imagine Obama enforcing this law? I can’t. He’ll either interpret the Constitution for himself, or he’ll employ the weapon of language. You can just hear it:
My Justice Department has to make decisions about the allocation of its limited resources, and we’ve decided that prosecution of doctors for performing abortions is not the best use of our attorneys’ time and the department’s money. Who among my opponents would claim we should risk letting rapists, murderers, and armed robbers evade conviction while the hard working men and women of the Department of Justice divert themselves by trying to prosecute doctors for seeking to help women?
A republic is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as . . .
a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.
The United States is a republic. A republic requires the rule of law. If laws are not enforced, or if our government only pretends to enforce them, then we are lawless, and we cannot be a republic.
Cover image: signatureillustration.org