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Defusing Obama’s amnesty bomb

Is the “power of the purse” enough to thwart the fundamental reconstruction of the American electorate?

“There’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border – a sense that what??s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” Barack Obama declared in one of his autobiographies.  Presumably he does think there’s some denying it now, since he’s poised to wipe young black people completely out of the labor market with a tidal wave of illegal aliens, but back in those bygone days of yore (i.e. 2006) he didn’t think concerns about the effect of mass illegal immigration were irrational.

“If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole – especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan – it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net,” he explained.  As the Daily Caller dryly observes, that’s the exact same argument amnesty opponents are making today.  As flip-flops go, that one’s a sure-fire Olympic gold medal winner.  And the idea that we need an huge infusion of immigrants to keep our workforce young, when unemployment among young people is so achingly high, should be good for a gold medal in self-serving delusions.

Obama used to believe that using executive orders to disable the immigration system “would amount to nothing less than the dictates of a king, not a president,” in the words of… the New York Times.  They’re quite blunt about what a remarkable reversal of positions this is, although one might criticize the Times for affecting such dropped-monocle surprise that Obama would so dramatically switch gears on this particular issue.  The dangers of converting the Presidency into a Third World tinpot dictatorship through abuse of executive power was always a matter of expediency with Obama, not principle.  Let’s not pretend he sat up late into the night wrestling with himself about whether it was time to pull the trigger and put the Constitution out of its misery.

President Obama is poised to ignore stark warnings that executive action on immigration would amount to ??violating our laws? and would be ??very difficult to defend legally.?

Those warnings came not from Republican lawmakers but from Mr. Obama himself.

For years, the president has repeatedly waved aside the demands of Latino activists and Democratic allies who begged him to take action on his own, and he insisted publicly that a decision to shield millions of immigrants from deportation without an act of Congress would amount to nothing less than the dictates of a king, not a president.

But Mr. Obama has reversed position and now said he believes that such actions can be ??legally unassailable,? as a senior White House official put it last week. As early as this week, officials said, Mr. Obama is expected to announce plans to shield up to five million people from deportation and provide work permits for many of them.

You’ll find no better expression of the banana-republic, ends-justify-the-means mindset than the way Obama promises to let the Constitution live, if Republicans give him what he wants:

At a news conference in Australia over the weekend, Mr. Obama implored Congress to pass a bill that would secure the border, revamp the legal immigration system and legalize many of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States.

??Give me a bill that addresses those issues,? Mr. Obama said at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. ??I??ll be the first one to sign it and, metaphorically, I??ll crumple up whatever executive actions that we take and we??ll toss them in the wastebasket.?

White House officials said they did not believe that Republicans, who will control both chambers in Congress next year, have any intention of passing a bill that the president could sign. They note that Mr. Obama delayed any executive action throughout 2013 and 2014, hoping that Speaker John A. Boehner would allow a vote in the House on a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate.

When that did not happen by the summer, officials said, Mr. Obama decided he should act on his own.

Obama sees the Constitutional separation of powers as an inconvenience, an obstacle to be destroyed.  In fact, with this attitude, he’s positioning the Constitution as a barrier to the people, rather than himself.  You can have your little elections, if it makes you feel like a free citizen with something to say about the fate of the Republic, but at the end of the day your silly little legislature had better do what His Majesty decrees, or else it’s executive-order time.

The American people don’t want Obama’s amnesty orders.  That was a big component of the midterm elections.  Anyone who cares about border security and U.S. citizenship who was foolish enough to vote Democrat got a big slap in the face from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his diminished posse today, as reported by Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democratic leaders sent a letter to Obama on Monday, urging him to use his ??well-established? executive powers to ??improve as much of the immigration system as you can.?

??We strongly support your plan to improve as much of the immigration system as you can within your legal authority, and will stand behind you to support changes to keep families together while continuing to enforce our immigration laws in a way that protects our national security and public safety,? the senators wrote in the letter, provided in advance to POLITICO.

The letter was signed by Reid and Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Chuck Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado. Durbin, Schumer, Menendez and Bennet were members of the Gang of Eight that wrote the chamber??s immigration bill last year.

What, no signature from Mary Landrieu of Louisiana?  Goodbye, Mary.  Your Party has decided the slender chance of saving your career is not worth derailing Obama’s amnesty juggernaut.

The Democrats argued that Obama was well within his legal bounds to act unilaterally on immigration ?? the main point of contention from Republican lawmakers. For instance, they pointed to how Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush instituted a so-called ??Family Fairness? policy that stopped deportations for 1.5 million family members of immigrants who were legalized under the 1986 immigration law.

That’s the hot new talking point, popping up in virtually every mainstream-media venue over the weekend: Reagan and Bush did it, too!  I guess Democrats are still operating under the Jon Gruber theory of “stupid voters,” because the first response of anyone with an ounce of common sense would be to observe that amnesty orders didn’t work out very well under Reagan and Bush, because they opened the floodgates and gave us the very illegal population that Obama now says we must legalize, no matter what the American people and their elected representatives think.  We’re looking at over 10 million illegals now, and Obama wants to grant amnesty to half of them.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of whatever Reagan and Bush did.  Isn’t the very definition of insanity repeating the same actions over and over again, while expecting different results?

Do the American people have some say in who is allowed to take up residency in the United States, or not?  The political trickery Democrats employ to conceal their lust for a few million more friendly voters implies that there will still be some sort of control over immigration – we’ll try to keep the most obviously undesirable immigrants out, maybe a few of the worst alien criminals will still be deported, and the most eager offers of amnesty will be made to the most appealing potential citizens, who can’t wait to become hard-working taxpayers.  What’s changing is that the American people will no longer have any input into the process – our thoughts about the optimum level of immigration, or the process of deportation, are not relevant.  The Ruling Class will decide such matters by decree, to their own political and financial benefit.  The next amnesty will be double the size of this one, after the next tidal wave is unleashed across the border, and we’ll be told we have even less to say about it.

In the meantime, what can we do to stop Obama?  National Journal finds Republicans “readying for a fight,” even as the remaining congressional Democrats beg for King Barack I to take their institutional powers away:

All options are on the table as House Republicans prepare to fight the president “tooth and nail,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a press conference Thursday.

“Here’s the time to get creative,” Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said, “and I think that’s what the speaker said when he said we’re looking at all options right now.”

But what exactly does “creative” mean??and how far will it extend?

If Obama announces his executive order next Friday at noon, the House could stay in session for as long as needed rather than beginning the planned Thanksgiving recess. The chamber could pass a resolution rejecting the president’s actions. Then House Republicans would focus on appropriations.

The current funding bill is set to sunset Dec. 11, and lawmakers are jockeying over passing another short-term continuing resolution or a longer-term package. The House could attach a rider prohibiting enforcement of Obama’s order, or it could not provide money to departments that would respond to executive action.

This strategy aligns with a letter that Salmon, along with at least 62 cosigners, sent House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers and ranking member Nita Lowey. It urges them to insert language into any spending bill prohibiting the use of appropriated money for executive action that would create additional work permits or green cards. Essentially, Congress’s power of the purse would be Obama’s punishment.

“If we can really target it just to that, it might be the holy grail,” Salmon said. But he wanted to make one thing clear: “Nobody’s threatening a shutdown. Nobody.”

That’s a refrain Rep. Trey Gowdy, Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee chairman, echoed. But, first, he ticked off three options Republicans do have: appropriations, potential litigation, and advice and consent.

There’s also some talk about giving Obama a hard time during the upcoming Attorney General confirmation process, and the “litigation” strategy Rep. Gowdy referred to evidently involves resuscitating Boehner’s comatose lawsuit against Obama for executive overreach and adding immigration malfeasance to the list of charges.  None of that sounds like it would back Obama down from a move that would fundamentally restructure the American electorate.  He’s made it clear that he won’t change because of the midterm results, and now he’s going to remind the American people of how much power he has to change them.

As for using the “power of the purse” without triggering a shutdown drama: obviously that’s in Obama’s hands, backed with the sure and certain knowledge that he and Harry Reid could be photographed pulling a giant electric cord out of a socket and plunging Washington into darkness, and his media pals would still blame Republicans for “shutting down the government.”  Besides the media’s partisan tilt, the ideological conviction that Democrats could never shut their beloved Big Government down is too strong.  Any spending bill that defunds amnesty is probably going to lead to a shutdown crisis, with Obama convinced Republicans will back down as each step is taken, while his own risk of political damage is virtually zero.  It seems Republicans are hoping to contain the fallout by shouting “WE DON’T WANT A SHUTDOWN!” every chance they get.

It all boils down to a series of bluffs made and called, with the final one being the unspoken, but pivotal, Obama belief that the American people are bluffing about the intensity of their resistance to amnesty.  He’s betting that anger over his executive orders might be intense in the short run, but will have largely diffused by the time the 2016 elections roll around.  After all, immigration reform wasn’t a top-5 issue before the recent border crisis, which suggests it’s something the public is eager to put on the back burner while its major concerns are addressed.  To the political novice, that makes it seem like pouring energy into such a low-priority issue would annoy the larger electorate, but the shark-eyed operators in Washington see nothing but opportunity here.  They can make moves that will please various elements of their base, drive a wedge between Republicans and their voters, and bring those millions of new imported voters online within an election cycle or two.  Intense and shallow opposition will fade, as the public goes back to the issues it really cares about, perhaps with a little prodding here and there.

One of those top issues is employment.  It remains amazing that so much violence would be done to our constitutional system of government on behalf of people who are not American citizens… to the direct detriment of those who are.  That will become more clear when unemployment gets worse for low-income workers, exactly as 2006 Obama predicted.  Black voters are about to find out just how much the Democrat Party takes them for granted.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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