|Thanks to USA Today for a photo of the notorious signing.|
The History So Far of Obama’s Executive Memo
Obama’s Controversial Executive Memorandum
In an 21 November 2014 article, Townhall contributor Conn Caroll gave the following lay-of-the-land summary of Obama’s executive memorandum:
“In a primetime address on November 20, President Obama made his sales pitch to the American people for a series of immigration executive actions he will sign on November 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here is what you need to know:
What actions is Obama taking specifically?
The key to Obama’s new immigration policy is the creation of one new amnesty program and the expansion of another.
Specifically, Obama’s new amnesty program will give illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for at least five years, and who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents, a three year work permit. This permit will also allow them to obtain a Social Security number and get a driver’s license. Pew estimates that 3.5 million current illegal immigrants will qualify for this program.
Obama is also expanding the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty program. Previously only those illegal immigrants who were born before 1981 and entered the U.S. as a minor before 2007 were eligible for benefits. Now all illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as a minor before 2010 will be eligible for amnesty. Like the parents above, DACA recipients will also get work permits, Social Security numbers, and driver’s licenses. Pew estimates that 235,00 illegal immigrants will gain eligibility for benefits through this program expansion.
Is this legal?
Obama didn’t think so. As recently as this spring, and on more than 20 other occasions, Obama said he could not rewrite immigration law by executive action.
Specifically, this March Obama told Univision, “But what I’ve said in the past remains true, which is until Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do. … t at a certain point the reason that these deportations are taking place is, Congress said, ‘you have to enforce these laws.’ They fund the hiring of officials at the department that’s charged with enforcing. And I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore, you know, any of the other laws that are on the books.
More damning, in 2011, Obama told the National Council of La Raza, “Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
How is Obama justifying this amnesty?
The Office of Legal Counsel memo released before Obama’s speech cites Obama’s Article II Section 3 constitutional duty to “take care that the Laws be faithfully executed” as the source of his power to grant this amnesty.
The memo reasons that since there are 11.3 million illegal immigrants in the country today, and DHS only has the resources to remove 400,000 illegal immigrants every year, Obama must choose which immigrants to deport and which to ignore. This “prosecutorial discretion” power, the memo claims, allows Obama to choose which illegal immigrants get work permits, which illegal immigrants will continue to be ignored, and which illegal immigrants will be deported.
Under this legal theory, Obama could give all current 11.3 million illegal immigrants work permits and driver’s licenses, as long as he kept deporting at least 400,000 illegal border crossers every year.”
A Conservative Judge in Texas
On 17 February 2015, a Washington Post article outlined the actions and words of a Federal Judge that blocked implementation of Obama’s executive memorandum:
A federal judge in Texas last night temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s executive actions on immigration. The judge, responding to a suit filed by 26 Republican-run states, did not rule on the legality of immigration orders but said there was sufficient merit to the challenge to warrant a suspension while the case goes forward.
No law gave the administration the power “to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the Department of Homeland Security itself labels as ‘legal presence,’” the judge said in a memorandum opinion. “In fact the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed.” The Department of Homeland Security “has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions.”
McConnell and Boehner Cave on Funding Obama’s Illegal Executive Memo
|2 March 2015 Boehner quote explained|
Why do I pin this on both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner? First, it was McConnell’s bill pushed forward the funding for Obama’s illegal action (it was the last hurdle) on 24 February 2015. Second, as laid out by Fox News:
The House voted 257-167 for the legislation, which includes no immigration provisions, and was carried over the finish line with mostly Democratic votes. In a statement late Tuesday, President Obama said he would sign the legislation as soon as it reached his desk.
In other words, even though Boehner had more Republicans than Democrats, he caused enough Republicans to join the Democrats so that Obama got the illegal executive memorandum funded. Since both chambers of Congress had campaigned on getting rid of Obamacare and defunding the executive memorandum, both McConnell and Boehner proved themselves to be governing against the will of those that voted them into office. Both need to go.
The Judge Declines to Lift His Order
An 8 April 2015 CNN article described (as does the following Christian Broadcasting Network video) how Federal Judge Andrew Hanen declined to lift the stay:
“A federal judge in Texas declined late Tuesday night to lift an order he issued in February that temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s controversial immigration actions from going into effect.
In a 15 page ruling, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen said he “remains convinced” that his original findings — halting programs meant to ease deportation threats to millions of eligible undocumented immigrants– were correct.
The ruling, a victory for Texas and 25 other states bringing the challenge, will come as no surprise to Justice Department lawyers who have already asked a federal appeals court to lift the February order. A three judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments on the issue on April 17.”
The Case Goes to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
In a New York Times article dated 17 April 2015, quotes from the three judge panel involved may portend the direction that this case will take:
“We are looking at unlawful action which no one could challenge,” said the judge, Jennifer Elrod, an appointee of President George W. Bush. She suggested that the government’s arguments could be stretched to allow every undocumented immigrant to remain in the country legally.
But lawyers for the State of Texas, who are leading the lawsuit against the executive actions, faced skepticism from a judge appointed by Mr. Obama. That judge, Stephen A. Higginson, repeatedly suggested that courts should not interfere too much in how federal agencies exercise their authority.
Judge Higginson told Scott A. Keller, the Texas solicitor general, that his argument could hamstring a range of government actions. “That’s a dangerous rule for us to write,” the judge said.
The third judge, Jerry E. Smith, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, was more reserved as the legal skirmishing played out, interrupted occasionally by the sounds of a protest by several hundred immigration activists who gathered outside the court building.
Our Duties: Pray and Follow God
Our first opportunity of believers is to take the situation to God.
… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
Worrying does no good; however, taking the situation to the God who controls all will do you good (because obedience has rewards and God commands us to pray).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
Realize that God directs the world (and its leaders) to fulfill his plans.
In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. (Proverbs 21:1 NIV)
God places people in places of authority for specific purposes (like Pontius Pilate, who was in a position to release Jesus).
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:11 NIV)
Go to the Bible, pray, and listen for the voice of God as to what you should do.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
Expect to be be taken into all truth. Naturally, this truth may not match your current view; however, it will be on a parallel path to the Word of God.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13 NIV)
Most importantly, stay in alignment with God, who does not change.
“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (Malachi 3:6 NIV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)