President Obama orders Justice Dept. to ignore U.S. law

Lynn Westmoreland's picture

Congressional Democrats and President Obama have spent the last two and a half years trying to reward illegal immigrants for breaking the law by coming to the United States.

There have been discussions of full amnesty to all illegal immigrants currently in the United States and an attempt to pass the controversial DREAM Act. None have been successful, even while Democrats held a super majority in the House and the Senate and controlled the White House.

That’s because, at the end of the day, even some Congressional Democrats have a problem with the United States government turning a blind eye to people disregarding American law.

But after all his immigration wants were blocked by Congress, President Obama made his signature move. He circumvented Congress – and the Constitution, I might add – and enacted his preferred stance on illegal immigrants through a presidential decree.

Under his latest command, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will now focus solely on illegal immigrants who have criminal records and will not spend any money detaining and deporting illegal immigrants who don’t pose “great harm.”

In defending the president’s unilateral decision, his director of intergovernmental affairs, Cecilia Munoz, wrote, “If you were running a law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, you would target those who pose the greatest harm before those who do not.” She stated that DHS and the DOJ simply do not have the money or manpower to locate, detain, and deport all approximate 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.

Well, I think that’s just absurd logic. It would be as if our local law enforcement agencies only spent their time catching and convicting murderers.

While I’m sure the American people understand the police and the district attorneys may spend more time on a homicide than on a stolen purse, I doubt they would be okay with every purse thief being allowed to walk free. Not only would it be unfair to those Americans who chose to obey the law and not steal purses, it would encourage more people to steal purses. I mean, why not if there are no repercussions?

And that’s exactly what we are talking about here. The president’s decree is a directive to federal law enforcement officials to effectively disregard American law.

It’s not only disgraceful, it’s completely unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly defines who is an American citizen, and Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the authority to clarify immigration laws by stating, “Congress shall have the power ... to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.”

Not the president. Congress. So while the president may have legitimate authority to prioritize the use of resources in federal criminal cases – for example allocating more resources for human trafficking prosecution than for mail fraud prosecution – he cannot direct the DOJ, or any federal agency for that matter, to completely disregard existing law.

As I have said hundreds of times before, we have both an illegal and legal immigration problem. We need to address the illegal immigration problem at the border, and we need to update our immigration laws to better reflect the needs of American businesses and the agriculture industry.

But the Constitution clearly gives that job to Congress. We live in a republic, not a kingdom – a fact the president unfortunately seems to forget on a regular basis.

Next week on Regulatory Roundup, I will talk about the EPA’s “Boiler MACT” rules that affect some 200,000 boilers nationwide. The House is expected to take up legislation, H.R. 2250, sometime in October regarding this issue.

[Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-3rd District) — a former Fayette resident — was first elected to Congress in 2004 and currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He lives in Grantville.]

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