How Barack Obama Created the Border Crisis
On Tuesday President Barack Obama urged Congress to cough up $4 billion to deal with the flood of children from Central America—and others from parts unknown--crossing the border into Texas.
Obama called this mess “an urgent humanitarian situation,” but what he not do is take responsibility for almost single-handedly causing this mess two years prior.
In 2012, he decided not to enforce many perfectly valid immigration laws because they did not poll well among Hispanic voters. It would get no deeper than that.
Since year one of the Bush administration, Congress had been trying to pass the awkwardly titled Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, better known as the DREAM Act.
This was an idealized acronym concocted to paper over what was essentially a geopolitical Breaking & Entering. Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Orren Hatch first introduced the bill in the Senate in August 2001.
In a nutshell, this bill would have provided permanent residency to those illegal aliens who had arrived in the United States as minors and behaved themselves well enough not to get their mug shot plastered on the Post Office wall.
Although President Bush supported immigration reform, as did President Obama, neither the DREAM Act nor any major immigration bill made it to their desks. The reason was simple enough: no variation of such a bill could muster adequate congressional support.
In 2009, eight powerful U.S. Senators, including two Republicans, sponsored still another version of the DREAM Act. During this two-year period, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Still, the will was not there, nor was the White House leadership, to pass this bill out of the Senate.
The reader might recall that in his 2006 book, TheAudacity of Hope, Obama praised “the rejection of absolutism implicit in our constitutional structure.”
As he and/or his ghostwriter argued, the system of checks and balances “encouraged the very process of information gathering, analysis, and argument that allows us to make better, if not perfect, choices, not only about the means to our ends but also about the ends themselves.”
Once Obama ascended to the presidency, all those checks and balances just made it harder for him to transform America. His constituencies wanted action, not gathering and arguing.
They started leaning on him to ignore Congress and act unilaterally. One minor obstacle stood in the way, and that was Article I, section 7 of the Constitution.
For the previous 220 years—“400 years” according to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee--that article informed Congress in some detail on how to turn an idea into a law.
Obama could not enforce the DREAM Act, said constitutional scholar Nicholas Rosenkrantz at a House Judiciary Committee meeting, “by pretending that it passed when it did not.”
As late as March 2011, legal scholar Obama seemed to agree. “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law,” he told a Univision audience.
By June 2012, what Obama said in March 2011 seemed as stale as a morning-after bowl of tortilla chips. The president had lost his taste for all that legislative analysis and argument given that the result was “an absence of any immigration action from Congress.”
Five months before the presidential election he knew the media would give him a pass, and he hoped that Latinos would give him their votes.
So he decided to dispense with debate and fix immigration policy by his own lights, confident he could make that policy “more fair, more efficient, and more just.”
This fix started with a presidentially guaranteed relief from deportation for the so-called “Dreamers.” On top of that came the right to apply for work authorization, both guarantees in full defiance of existing federal law.
“ There has long been a general consensus that a president cannot refuse to enforce a law that is considered constitutionally sound,” said liberal legal scholar Jonathan Turley, also at a House Judiciary Committee meeting.
Not surprisingly, the premise on which Obama proposed to relax enforcement was fundamentally false. He boasted that by “putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history,” he was able to reduce illegal crossings to the lowest level the past 40 years.
Yes, there were fewer border crossings than in the past. In fact, the number had fallen since 2005, but that had almost nothing to do with prioritized security and almost everything to do with what Pew Research described as “weakened U.S. job and construction markets.”
On August 23, 2013, in a move that the major media barely noticed, the Obama administration subtly expanded the list of those who would be excluded from deportation.
Deep in a nine-page memo from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters to its field offices was an order that “prosecutorial discretion” be shown to parents or guardians of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents, a.k.a. “Dreamers.”
Said Turley, “ In ordering this blanket exception, President Obama was nullifying part of a law that he simply disagreed with. There is no claim of unconstitutionality.”
Said Rosenkrantz, “Exempting as many as 1.76 million people from the immigration laws goes far beyond any traditional conception of prosecutorial discretion.”
What troubled Turley even more was the willingness of so many participants in this debate to accept Obama’s “transparent effort to rewrite the immigration law.”
This included Dick Durbin, who co-authored the original DREAM Act. "Because the House has refused to consider the DREAM Act and a filibuster blocked it in the Senate,” said Durbin as casually as if he were the senator from Swaziland, “this presidential action was absolutely necessary to serve the cause of justice."
When the word filtered down to Central America that young people could transform themselves through one magical train ride from impoverished street kids to American Dreamers, they came by the thousands.
And all Obama had to do was to pretend to be surprised.
Webmaster's Note: Jack Cashill's Book-TV presentation of "Deconstructing Obama" can be viewed at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/298382-1
Editor's note: For a more complete account of this phenomenon, read Jack Cashill's amazing book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture.
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