Even Cato's Open-Borders Libertarians Don't Like Obama's Unconstitutional Amnesty

Gene Healy is vice-president of the Cato Institute and therefore an open borders guy—he's fine with illegal immigrants being allowed to stay. However, he's also the author of "The Cult of the Presidency," and therefore he does not approve of  Obama's unconstitutional amnesty.

Barack Obama's Executive Unilateralism

Obama's latest move underscores just how easy it is for modern presidents to "change the laws unilaterally."

Gene Healy | June 19, 2012

In a Rose Garden speech Friday, President Obama announced that per a "Homeland Security Directive," his administration had called a halt to deportation proceedings for certain unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors. The eligibility criteria stated in the order roughly tracks the requirements of the Dream Act, which has never quite been able to make it through Congress. A mere technicality, the president suggested: it's "the right thing to do for the American people."

In an interview with a panel of Latino journalists last fall, the president had a different take: "This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We live in a democracy," he insisted. "You have to pass bills through the legislature and then I can sign it." That's why, despite the urging of immigration activists, he could not implement the Dream Act via executive diktat.

But that explanation is no longer operative, to borrow the old Clinton administration euphemism for "I lied." [VDARE.com note: This is wrong—it was actually Ron Ziegler's phrase, during the Nixon Administration.]Obama's latest move underscores just how easy it is for modern presidents to "change the laws unilaterally."

As it happens, Obama's "royal dispensation" for young immigrants is hardly the most terrifying instance of administration unilateralism. In fact, as a policy matter, it's a humane and judicious use of prosecutorial resources.

But given the context, it stinks. It looks uncomfortably like implementing parts of a bill that didn't pass, and—carried out as it was with great fanfare and an eye to the impending election—the move sits uneasily with the president's constitutional responsibility to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."[More]

Exactly. And while the President can use  his pardon power to keep people who've committed crimes out of jail, he has no business keeping illegal aliens in the country.