Washington Times (Editorial)
January 21, 2016
Barack Obama is about to find out whether he’s a power unto himself or merely a president. His immigration orders will be held up against the standard of the U.S. Constitution, tattered and oft-ignored as it may be. The outcome, depending on the reckoning of the United States Supreme Court, could begin the rebuilding the nation’s broken immigration system and the redrawing, in vivid red ink, of a bright boundary marking the limits of the authority of the chief executive.
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to take up United States v. Texas, which questions whether President Obama broke the law when he ordered an amnesty that blocked deportation of 4 million illegal immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens, and gave them work permits. The administration claimed that Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) was practical assistance for illegals whose family situations make them a low priority for deportation.
But Texas, joined by 25 other states, sued, arguing that compliance would burden them with heavy costs. Moreover, the court will examine the larger question of whether such orders amount to abandoning the president’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The outcome could be decisive in the struggle over immigration policy, which has pitted open-borders activists inside and outside the Obama administration against the states forced to deal with the humanitarian challenges posed by waves of uninvited immigrants. “This is a great day for millions of immigrants and their allies,” says Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant advocacy organization. “At long last, millions of immigrants will have a full and fair hearing before the highest court in the land.”
Lawyers for Mr. Obama say he was “compelled” to act on immigration reform when Congress did not do so, but the states argue the president has no constitutional right to take matters into his own hands. “DAPA is a crucial change in the nation’s immigration law and policy — and that is precisely why it could be created only by Congress, rather than unilaterally imposed by the executive,” wrote Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton in court papers.
Congress, not the president, has further authority over the nation’s purse strings. The annual costs of illegal immigration at the federal, state and local level is estimated at $113 billion by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The Heritage Foundation reckons that if the 12 million illegals currently in the United States were allowed to stay the net value of government benefits they would enjoy over their lifetimes would reach $6.3 trillion.
The president has two strikes against him. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, issued an injunction barring the Department of Homeland Security from administering the president’s executive order last February, and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans concurred in November.
The High Court should call the third strike, foiling the administration’s scheme to seize power not in the Constitution. Failing to secure the nation’s borders, then issuing orders that would manage the chaos, is the mark of a brazen globalist. The president contends everyone is a “citizen of the world.” Humanity indeed shares a planet, but every American deserves the right to open his door to guests and to close it to the uninvited. The alternative is an unruly neighborhood.
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