“The fact is millions of immigrants, in every state, of every race and nationality still live here illegally. And let’s be honest, tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. It also isn’t who we are as Americans.” – President Barack Obama
In the statement above, President Obama makes a fair point regarding his executive order to protect 5 million undocumented people in the U.S.: to find and deport every person who is not a legal immigrant would be an unrealistic hassel. Sure. Other than the fact that his executive order may negatively influence the mindset of future immigrants–if we allow illegal immigrants now to stay, wouldn’t other immigrants be under the impression that living illegally in the U.S. is “ok”?–the order itself is not constitutional.
The order was executed unilaterally, thus violating the Constitution’s separation of powers, which was implemented in the Constitution to prevent a strictly majority ruling. By acting on his own, President Obama disregarded this crucial aspect of our government. Unilateral action is not how we run things here in America.
The President himself commented on the unconstitutionality of his decision to the National Council of La Raza, stating “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own…The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works.”
Moreover, the President’s actions also violate the Take Care Clause, as stated by a Judge Schwab, in Pennsylvania. The clause, which delineates the President’s executive power, states that the President must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” By acting unilaterally, the President stands in clear violation of this clause, and thus the Constitution.
Leaders in 17 states, according to the Wall Street Journal, have challenged President Obama’s action on the issue at hand, fighting under the reasoning that Obama’s GOP changes surpass the limits of executive authority.
Arguments have also been cast that the authority of the president on the immigration matter lies in decisions determined case-by-case. By invoking the executive order, Obama has created a more formulaic way of determining which immigrants are alleviated from some of the limitations set upon illegal immigrants. Based on the President’s order, these immigrants are not citizens but are granted almost a partial citizenship.
A loose interpretation of the Constitution may enable President Obama to enact his executive order constitutionally. However, primarily on the laws of separation of powers and the Take Care Clause, Obama has passed his order unconstitutionally. Is this the kind of America we want to live in?