View Full Version : Obama’s policy strategy: Ignore laws
06-16-2012, 08:17 PM
By STEVE FRIESS | 6/16/12 7:02 AM EDT
President Obama returned Friday to a trusted tactic — satisfying his political allies by not doing something.
Conservatives were angry when Janet Napolitano announced the administration would stop deporting certain undocumented immigrants but they should have seen it coming. On issue after issue – gay rights, drug enforcement, Internet gambling, school achievement standards – the administration has chosen to achieve its goals by a method best described as passive-aggressive.
(Also on POLITICO: Obama energizes Latino vote)
Rather than pushing new laws through a divided Congress to enact his agenda, Obama is relying on federal agencies to ignore, or at least not defend, laws that some of his important supporters –like Hispanic voters and the gay community — don’t like.
“If the president says we’re not going to enforce the law, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it,” University of Pennsylvania constitutional law professor Kermit Roosevelt said. “It’s clearly a political calculation.”
A White House official said the strategy is the result of a stalemate in Washington.
“We we work to achieve our policy goals in the most effective and appropriate way possible,” the official said. “Often times Congress has blocked efforts (ie [No Child Left Behind] and DREAM) and we look to pursue other appropriate means of achieving our policy goals. Sometimes this makes for less than ideal policy situations - such as the action we took on immigration - but the president isn’t going to be stonewalled by politics, he will pursue whatever means available to do business on behalf of American people.”
For Obama – and future presidents should Washington remain polarized to the point of perpetual inaction —it may be the only way to fulfill a range of campaign promises.
As of Friday, the federal government won’t deport undocumented immigrants under age 30 who came to the United States as children. It is a temporary, de facto implementation of a part of the stalled DREAM Act.
The result: a loud message to Hispanic voters to remember Obama in November.
On gay rights, too, the administration has asked agencies to do less. In February 2011 the Justice Department announced it would not defend DOMA against court challenges — an unusual step for the agency, which typically defends legal challenges to laws on the books. But the 1996 law, which bars the government from recognizing same-sex marriage, appears headed to the U.S. Supreme Court via either the 9th or 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
(PHOTOS: 20 gay rights milestones)
In August, Obama’s DHS announced it would no longer deport the non-citizen spouses of gay Americans — a direct contradiction to DOMA as well.
The tactic has its start in the earliest days of the administration. In October 2009, the DOJ announced it would not prosecute medical marijuana users or suppliers in states where it’s legal, despite the state laws contradicting federal law. Federal law generally trumps state law in such matters.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77486.html#ixzz1y0NZQcKw
06-16-2012, 08:23 PM
President Obama’s order deferring deportation of up to 800,000 young illegal immigrants shows a president dealing with a recalcitrant Congress by ignoring it. Is he reshaping the power of the presidency?
By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / June 16, 2012
Faced with a Republican Congress that seems stubborn to a fault and content to see Obama fail, America’s chief executive has decided to grab what some are calling an unprecedented rein on executive prerogative in order to move his political objectives down the field.
His supporters say it’s part of the President’s “audacity of hope” campaign message, exemplified by Friday’s decision to relax immigration rules for young illegal immigrants – a necessary antidote, supporters contend, to political polarization, stalemate, and gridlock in Washington.
As with other Obama decisions to ignore parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, not prosecute medical marijuana, and allow some states to opt out of No Child Left Behind provisions, the immigration order became perhaps the boldest decision yet by a president seeking reelection, critics say, to ignore laws passed by Congress in order to achieve a political objective, setting a troubling precedent for the power of the presidency.
In some ways, it’s part of the evolution of an “imperial Presidency,” a term used by historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. to describe Richard Nixon’s challenges to traditional checks and balances. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, also used a broad definition of presidential power to issue so-called signing statements where he declared parts of new laws unconstitutional and thus unenforceable by the commander-in-chief.
But whereas Bush reserved most of those powers for issues of national defense in wartime, Obama has expanded the president’s power into issues that are live wires in America’s political and cultural battlefields – gay marriage, marijuana, education, immigration – while reshaping the powers of the Oval Office in his wake. At some point, critics say, the question becomes: Who can check the President?
“This isn’t about immigration but about constitutional order,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative-leaning think tank. “One problem is that even Democrats in Congress now have no right to complain about future usurpations – they might as well all go home and have Napoleon run the country.”
In his Saturday address, President Obama hinted at the forces that are pushing him to take what some are calling extreme measures to govern. While he said Republican recalcitrance is a reason to vote in November, he also hinted that the political situation is forcing his hand as an executive. “There’s no excuse for Congress to stand by and do nothing while so many families are struggling – none,” Obama said.
06-16-2012, 08:25 PM
By Victor Davis Hanson
June 15, 2012 6:51 P.M.
Legally, President Obama has reiterated the principle that he can pick and choose which U.S. laws he wishes to enforce (see his decision to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his administration’s contempt for national-security confidentiality and Senate and House subpoenas to the attorney general). If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law — when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action — then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon.
Politically, Obama calculates that some polls showing the current likely Hispanic support for him in the high 50s or low 60s would not provide enough of a margin in critical states such as Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, or perhaps also in Florida and Virginia, to counteract the growing slippage of the independent vote and the energy of the clinger/tea-party activists. Thus, what was not legal or advisable in 2009, 2010, or 2011, suddenly has become critical in mid-2012. No doubt free green cards will quickly lead to citizenship and a million new voters. Will it work politically? Obama must assume lots of things: that all Hispanics vote as a block in favoring exempting more illegal aliens from the law, and are without worry that the high unemployment rate hits their community among the hardest; that black voters, stung by his gay-marriage stance, will not resent what may be seen as de facto amnesty, possibly endangering his tiny (and slipping) lead in places like Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. And because polls show overwhelming resistance to non-enforcement of immigration law, Obama also figures that the minority who supports his recent action does so far more vehemently than the majority who opposes it. Time will tell; but my gut feeling is that his brazen act will enrage far more than it will delight — and for a variety of different reasons. As with all his special-interest efforts — the Keystone cancellation, war-on-women ploy, gay-marriage turnabout, and now de facto amnesty — Obama believes dividing Americans along class, ethnic, gender, and cultural lines will result in a cobbled together majority, far more preferable than a 1996 Clinton-like effort to win over the independents by forging a bipartisan consensus.
06-16-2012, 08:28 PM
By Pamela Constable, Published: June 15
President Obama has just opened a floodgate of opportunity for young illegal immigrants in the United States, but could it squeeze the aspirations of legal Americans in the process?
Across the nation Friday, immigrant advocates and Hispanic youth groups hailed Obama’s decision to offer legal status to some undocumented immigrants under 30 as a watershed in U.S. immigration history and a long-sought victory for ambitious youths denied a chance to realize the American dream.
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“I thank God for this day. It has changed my whole life,” Jorge Acuna, 19, a college student in Silver Spring who came to the United States with his family as a child, told a cheering crowd outside the White House on Friday afternoon, minutes after Obama announced the new policy. Last spring, the community college student was nearly deported to his native Colombia. Now, under the amnesty, he will be able to pursue his degree in engineering.
But opponents of illegal immigration warned that the policy could create significant new competition for jobs and university slots at a time of nationwide recession and numerous states’ efforts to curb public spending.
“I see a tidal wave coming,” said Brad Botwin, president of Help Save Maryland, a group that opposes legalization for undocumented immigrants. “Half of our college graduates today can’t find jobs, and the unemployment rate for high-school-aged Americans is extremely high. This is unfair to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who are out there struggling to get ahead.”
Residency not provided
Under the new policy, as many as 1.4 million undocumented immigrants under age 30 will be able to apply for the amnesty, allowing them to work and attend college legally. To be eligible, they must have been in the United States for five years, have no criminal record, and attend high school or college or be a military veteran.
The policy does not provide permanent legal residency, but it protects those who qualify from being deported and gives them a chance to renew their new status every two years. It also does not grant any public benefits, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Federal law already grants all undocumented immigrants the right to a public-school education and emergency hospital care.
The new policy could entail additional costs for administration and enforcement, however, and put pressure on state systems of higher education to meet growing demand for slots.
But it could also bring new revenue. Many illegal workers are paid in cash, and taxes or other costs are not deducted. One congressional study found that the Dream Act, a stalled proposal to grant legal residency to young immigrants who graduate from high school and attend college or join the military, would add $2.3 billion in tax revenue over 10 years.
“Texas and California will definitely benefit from this,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, adding that the two states have large populations of Hispanic immigrants who will now be able to open businesses, hire people and earn more.
06-16-2012, 10:04 PM
If the chief of police in a community were to pick and choose -- based solely on his personal beliefs and desire to gain support from certain citizens -- what laws to enforce or not enforce, what do you think the reaction would be?
The good news is (hopefully we make it to) the next Republican President can do away with some of this nonsense and enforce laws again. The bad news is we have to wait until then.
06-16-2012, 11:57 PM
The good news is (hopefully we make it to) the next Republican President can do away with some of this nonsense and enforce laws again.
You mean the way Bush did??:rolleyes:
You mean the way Bush did??:rolleyes:
Do you have a crush on me?
In response: I mean the way Obama didn't.
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