On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee examined President Obama’s abuse of executive power. The full committee met to discuss the president’s unconstitutional practices in delaying and outright not enforcing laws passed by Congress.
The president’s constant push back on health care deadlines was certainly the catalyst for the hearing; however the administration’s immigration practices did not go unnoticed. The arguments fell into two camps:
President legally using “prosecutorial discretion”
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) claimed that the executive may use prosecutorial discretion to determine how and when to enforce certain laws – including immigration laws. Conyers and other Democrats contend that the president can choose not to use resources to enforce the law against some illegal aliens.
However, this president has gone far beyond exercising discretion. Instead, President Obama and his administration have moved to undermine completely many immigration laws passed by Congress and effectively negate lawmakers’ intent. And, as Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) pointed out, the president is actually granting worker permits to some illegal aliens in spite of explicit statutory prohibitions against their employment.
President is abusing power and rewriting laws to his liking
Legal scholars testified that the administration’s actions are a “unilateral abridgement” of immigration laws. On “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) specifically, Prof. Nicholas Rosenkranz of Georgetown University said the president directed DHS to act as if the DREAM Act had been enacted.
In reality, the president and his advisors are distorting the traditional use of prosecutorial discretion – typically used to give relief from enforcement on a case by case basis. Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University wrote in his testimony on DACA: “While claimed to simply be an act of prosecutorial discretion, it constitutes a new and alternative immigration process for these individuals.”
President Obama’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion in immigration threatens the balance of power defined by our government’s framers and undercuts the past and future deliberative products of Congress. Turley puts it best: “If a president can claim sweeping discretion to suspend key federal laws, the entire legislative process becomes little more than a pretense.”