Obama Administration Declares It Will Not Deport Young Illegal Immigrants

The Obama Administration again waited for a Friday afternoon to announce a major new policy change — repeating its practice of timing important announcements to reduce media and public attention. The latest change is obviously controversial. The Administration will no longer deport illegal aliens under 30 who came to this country as children — effectively negating part of the federal law. It raises some troubling questions, again, about President Obama assertion of executive power. While liberals again celebrate the unilateral action, they ignore that danger that the next president may also simply chose to ignore whole areas of the federal law and criminal code in areas ranging from the environment to employment discrimination. It is one more brick in the wall of the Imperial Presidency constructed under Barack Obama — a wall that may prove difficult to dismantle for citizens in the future.

Presidents are given extreme deference in decisions on the enforcement of federal laws. It would be difficult for anyone to challenge this policy for that reason. However, that does not mean that this is a good practice — regardless of the merits of specific policy. It is also hard to ignore the obvious political play for Hispanic votes in key swing states. Obama waited for years to take this action and did so with polls showing that Hispanics will likely select the next president. Even some of the more liberal columnists and reporters are acknowledging that this change appears driven by politics.

Obama officials do not deny that they are circumventing Congress. In a recent interview, senior Obama adviser David Plouff told CNN “if congress would act, we would be happy to sign the DREAM Act tomorrow.” Since it has not done so, the White House is going to accomplish the same objection unilaterally.

This is different from past presidents who have not made deportation a priority in their policies. Despite the criticism of Obama, he is certainly no less aggressive on deportation than his predecessors. Indeed, he may be more aggressive in terms of numbers. Presidents like George W. Bush clearly did not push for deportation based solely on illegal status. The Administration, however, was forced to admit this long-suspected policy in court in fighting the Arizona law — stating that it did conflict with federal policy because the Administration did not want mass deportations.

This is different. Here the Administration is implementing a categorical policy not to enforce federal law, which dictates deportation for illegal immigrations regardless of their age. Congress has refused to pass such laws and this is an obvious effort to circumvent Congress — something of a signature for this Administration. Liberals were outraged by Bush’s use of signing statements as a circumvention of Congress. Yet, when Obama broke his promise and started using signing statements, liberals were again silent. Now, he has gone further and (rather than advancing a restrictive interpretation) he has announced that he will simply not enforce the law.

The change could also create a new conflict with states passing tough immigration laws. We are awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Arizona case where the Administration may lose some ground. The announcement on Friday could be an effort to preempt the decision. If the Administration had already decided to stop deportations, it would look bad to come after the decision and appear to be circumventing both the judicial and legislative branches.

This is part of a pattern for the Administration. For example, the Administration has announced that it will ignore two federal statutes that bar betting across state lines. That effectively legalized Internet gambling. While his Administration claims that it has no choice but to enforce other laws like marijuana enforcement and for years, both DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell laws, it has not hesitated to declare other laws as unenforceable as a matter of policy. Ultimately, it took the same approach to DOMA — after years of defending it. DOMA is striking in that the Administration still refuses to accept that sexual orientation should be treated like race or gender as a category of discrimination. If it did, the refusal to defend DOMA would have been more clearly based on a view that it is unconstitutional. Instead, the Administration made general claims of states rights (that do not apply to areas like medical marijuana it seems) and even more vague references to privacy and equal protection.

What is left is a conflicted approach to enforcement based on the president’s changing views — in the latest case a change that seems motivated in large part by political advantage.

Liberals and civil libertarians were united on such questions in denouncing the circumvention of Congress by Bush. However, once again, there appears to be a blindness to the dangers of this practice when it comes to Obama. What will happen if a President Romney simply declares that he is not going to enforce environmental law or conflict laws or other parts of the federal code? Is the difference going to be simply that he is not Obama? Liberals are losing not just their credibility but principles in these controversies. Our system is based on a careful balancing of power that forces disparate factional groups to reach agreements in the legislative process. That is what brings the stability to our system.

This latest controversy is not about young illegal immigrants. There are strong policy arguments in favor of this change. However, those arguments need to be made in Congress. This should also not be an “after-the-fact” debate following a change late on a Friday where the president simply grants the equivalent of amnesty for hundreds of thousands of people. Polls show a sharply divided population with a majority favoring tougher immigration laws. We have a political system designed to address such divisive issues. It does not always work the way presidents demand. Indeed, the Democrats previously used filibusters and other techniques to block the Bush Administration and how the Republicans are doing the same thing. However, that is the point. Presidents should not be able to simply make federal laws discretionary to their whim or will. This may be a worthy end but it is the wrong means in a system based on shared powers of government.

Source: Politico

186 thoughts on “Obama Administration Declares It Will Not Deport Young Illegal Immigrants”

  1. Anon, people routinely vote their own interests.

    But getting into the symantics of this “issue” you have been displaying:

    We are not vagina voters. We are uterus voters. Aye, there’s the rub.

  2. ANON,

    Now that I know you should be reading my words (pretend I am one of your opponents).
    With your love of women, I suggest you read Hemingway’s:
    “The short happy life of Francis Maccomber”.

    Hope it convinces you to seek help. And don’t do anything rash in the meanwhile. Seriously. I was on that path for some years. Not a good one.

    A good woman can compensate for a bad one. After you have resolved things.

  3. LeeJCarrol,

    Guess we must conclude that that law is a form of guild, with those restrictions and binding internal rules.

    I think it odd the silence which meets you, and others who I won’t name. Who speaks here for the lawyers when these tales of injustice are parleyed for hope for betterment? None is heard.

    We get tales of judges, lawyers, officials from JT and even others. But nothing in terms of offering a solution to this evil. For it is a cancer, ie it is growing and deadly in the end.

    Are there no lawyer organizations willing to challenge this sickness? Where is the equivalent of the ACLU.
    Perhaps their are. Describe them.

    Where is the federal law equivalent to the consumer financial protection laws which would offer a time unlimited appeal and prosecutorial path?

    I am not a lawyer and here am I presuming to mention alternatives and needs. Where the hell are the lawyers here? And their fellow travelers? Why is it so quiet here?

    Is baring your woes uncouth in this place. OK. Skip the personal. But letting the comments stand at just that, without mentioning the rare case when they get caught.

    Where is the EFFing oversight???????

  4. ” Most of the women will stick with the candidate that Planned Parenthood has endorsed, and so will the men that support them.”

    And you wonder why you’re called a vagina voter.

    1. “And you wonder why you’re called a vagina voter.”


      Proof you are a misogynist, actually only a teeny part of the proof.

  5. Int terms of not getting anything done Obama is his own worst enemy. He never came out shouting about the things he has done. When parts of the health care law came into play where was he, when the auto industry cam back, where was he, when the stock market came back where was he when jobs coming back, although slow are coming back, where was he, etc, etc, and so on.
    Part of the “ineffectiveness” is that he does not let us kknow what he has accomplished.

  6. “Fox Nation: “Obama’s Lawless Presidency Close to Totalitarianism.””

    What I find interesting is that we have competing memes which negate each other, yet the purveyors of the memes see no dichotomy. The first meme, which came from the Left, with support from the Right, is that Obama is a startlingly ineffective President who can’t get anything done. The second meme starting on the Right, with support from the Left, is of an Imperialist Dictator as President, destroying America’s independence. Which is it, because it can’t be both. When some people all over the political spectrum agree on outright hyperbole, the result is the confusion we see on this thread. The timid, ineffective dictator, who has sold out to the M.I Complex, Wall Street, Religious Right, Gays, Environmentalists, “Feminazi’s” and of course to the Communists. Politics certainly does make strange bedfellows.

  7. Idealist the attorneys are too c hummy with one another.
    Sorry to Prof Turley, and others on here who are decent, but my experience is most are no. (I hope my current lawyer is in the decent category – re sold a house was told was lemonade and turns out lied and it is a dangerous lemon)
    Self and political interest always comes first.
    In my med mal case Dr. Jannetta, the defendant, committed perjury. The Pa court said so but the no one cared. In fact 4 weeks after I was forced to settle a case worth millions (many atty’s said so even after the fact) for bupkis (I have written about this before Dr. Jannetta was nominated by Gov Ridge for sec’t of health which despite notifying Ridge and all fifty senators of the perjury (and to which only 3 senators replied, 2 to say who cares essentially and a third wrote me nice letter but tough luck (my translation). Ridge aide replied after confirmation that Ridge was satisfied Jannetta was a fine person and would do a good job.
    He only stayed 6 months (1995 – 1996) so looks like it was ore for his resume.
    At any rate long story long, sorry, I went to Ag while Ridge still governor. I showed the proof of the perjury as well as statement by Pa. Superior Court. I was told nothing there. Move on and they would do nothing about it.
    A few years later when Ridge out I decided to go back to AG office. I talked with a staffer who at first wasn;t interested but then when read depositions and trial testimony, and decision by Pa Superior Court said I would absolutely have taken this case to the court, but you missed your statute of limitations by a few months.
    It was happenstance that I even decided to go again but it was politics and the good old boy lawyer network that let this doctor get away with criminal behavior.
    Jannetta was also a “name” and that was another reason.
    Unfortunately Malisha is right, these guys get away with it and we get ( ).

    (When Ridge was to appear with Romney I tweeted and emailed Romney people, wrote comments to articles touting Ridge would be coming.
    I asked why Romney would allow himself to appear with someone who knowingly had a perjurer in his cabinet. I did not get a personal reply but strangely, and may just be coincidental, Ridge decided not to go. I have not seen Romney tout Ridge as his supporter since.

    (“”We have little difficulty in concluding that Dr. Jannetta’s testimony at deposition was different than, or inconsistent with, the testimony at trial.” Levy v Jannetta, CCP Allegheny County, GD 81-7689; appeal -J. A370017/92 Levy v Jannetta et al, No. 00150 Pittsburgh, 1992. settled, 1995.)

  8. Malisha,

    There are no benevolent autocrats, otherwise you got it right. Some occasionally will fall into a “Lady Bountiful” mood someday and boost there self-esteem by doing the right thing, just then. Lightning does strike.

    Otherwise it is continous sunshine on their cheeks and a lively bartering between power holders, eased by a little cash when grease is needed.

    I got good handling in the justice system for two reasons:
    I was not a threat to them, only to myself.
    I had more value in the economy than as a profit unit in the incarceration system. Other factors are possible, like good effective engaged attorneys.

    Strange that no attorney feels like immolating him/herself with your case. A change to start a historical career.
    That of course assumes the system doesn’t sabotage the action again—which they would. Dreams of heaven usually end under 6 feet of clay.

  9. rafflaw,
    You can’t have ALL the good luck, now can you?
    First they come, then they multiply, and now they get to wave goddby to an educated grown child who can stay. Talk about luck. Gotta share a bit. What happens to the kid after 30????

  10. PS: Jack, I was born here.
    My parents were born here.
    I used to have faith.

  11. Jack, ““I think it was an end-run around Congress, yes, but am I up in arms about it?”

    You should be–as should every citizen. Otherwise, our system of government becomes trust the hopefully benevolent autocrat.”

    Well here’s why I’m not, Jack. Because I would have basically agreed with you on this one for the first 64 years of my life, but guess what happened?

    MY RIGHTS WERE ALL TAKEN AWAY in 1982 and I was neither charged with a crime nor sued for a tort. They just got taken, one after the other, without due process, without even having things written down on paper, because some wacko who had gotten citizenship fraudulently pestered public officials and did end-runs around every agency and court there was. End-run after end-run after end-run, deprivation of constitutional rights after deprivation of constitutional rights after deprivation of constitutional rights. First I started fighting it by hiring lawyers and then I couldn’t afford to do that any more so I started fighting it by studying up and defending myself pro-se and then I got sick and then I carried on as well as I could and then I got pro bono counsel and then they committed perfidy and worked for my adversary and then I made formal complaints against them and then and then and then and then and Jack,


    Nobody helped,
    No great constitutional lawyer got onto my case and began to sue for my life interest,
    No academic climbed on board and changed clothes in a phone booth, and

    POTUS didn’t help me and
    SCOTUS didn’t help me and
    ATIOTUS didn’t help me and

    none of them will EVER help me and I already know, I know in every cell of my body, with every breath I draw, I know, I KNOW that


    That is ALREADY what we have, Jack,
    it is what we have, already,

    Now, others are beginning to understand that they also live here with me.

    So, guess what, I am not up in arms about it ANY MORE.
    Now, I am just trying to pull myself out.
    And, like the little red hen, I’ll try to do it myself.
    If I totally fail, I hope to make somebody else simmer in the same chicken soup I end up in. And that, Jack, is my assessment of the government I have to call “my government” and that is all I expect of it. So those under-30 “illegals” who won’t get sent to a different country — I don’t even envy them.

  12. Not the Onion — Fox Nation: “Obama’s Lawless Presidency Close to Totalitarianism.” From the Maddow blog.

  13. “If it wasn’t for double-standards, some people wouldn’t have any standards at all.”

    What if a general amnesty were passed as law by Congress and then the president arbitrarily carved out this very same under 30 category as being the only people whose applications would be accepted using the very same limited resources and executive discretion excuses? All these people defending the power of the imperial president in this case would be singing a different tune.

  14. “I think it was an end-run around Congress, yes, but am I up in arms about it?”

    You should be–as should every citizen. Otherwise, our system of government becomes trust the hopefully benevolent autocrat.

  15. “The parents would still be eligible for deportation.”

    Theoretically. In practice, the recipient of deferred action will be like a quasi-anchor baby and will make it less likely that the parents will be deported.

  16. jskdn,
    The only immigrants who won’t be deported are those who are under 30. The parents would still be eligible for deportation.

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