Washington Post: Obama’s Unilateral Immigration Action Is “Unprecedented”

220px-Washington_Post_buildingPresident_Barack_ObamaThe Washington Post has published a hard-hitting editorial that not only accuses the Obama Administration of fudging the figures on its unilateral immigration changes but calls the action “unprecedented” and “indefensible.” The stinging editorial from a generally favorable newspaper amplifies the criticism of others, including myself, that President Obama is doing considerable damage to the separation of powers and, more generally, our constitutional system in these actions.

The Post details what it views as highly suspicious figures coming out of the Administration — a continuing problem raised by critics in various controversies that has reduced the credibility of the Administration as a whole. The Administration is using a figure of affected persons that it says puts the scope of its action in line with changes made by President George Bush — a claim repeated on various commentators and bloggers. However, the Post says “there is every reason to believe that the estimate is wildly exaggerated and based mainly on what appears to have been a misunderstanding at the time.”

While the Post supports changes in immigration and criticizes the Republicans in the House of Representatives, it insists that that does not alter the fact that President Obama is taking “unprecedented” action:

Republicans’ failure to address immigration also does not justify Mr. Obama’s massive unilateral act. Unlike Mr. Bush in 1990, whose much more modest order was in step with legislation recently and subsequently enacted by Congress, Mr. Obama’s move flies in the face of congressional intent — no matter how indefensible that intent looks.

76 thoughts on “Washington Post: Obama’s Unilateral Immigration Action Is “Unprecedented””

  1. Proof reading is my friend…when I manage to do it. Drat…only the “nothing” above was supposed to be in bold. sorry.

  2. rippleton said …

    The precedent for executive orders was set decades ago.

    Which has precisely nothing</b? to do with this latest immigration action by President Obama. He did not issue or sign an executive order. You will find no credible evidence anywhere, including from Obama himself, that he did. He used his “pen” to send a memo to agency heads and his phone to advise of them, his appointees mind you, of what he felt was “prosecutorial discretion.”

    As a former “Fed” I will tell you that this side step shenanigan is one of the worst practices in our government. Zero accountability is the goal and the result. It also prepares the stage for the agency people to be the fall guys should things blow up. I have the tee-shirt.

    Inga…the “executive order” on topic is the immigration one allegedly issued and signed recently vis a vis 4-5 million long standing “undocumented” immigrants. I repeat my comment above…there was no executive order, just conversations and memos. Obama is smarter than to step directly into law enforcement. He strongly hints at what he wants…as he said, with his pen & phone. The presumption that he meant executive orders when he said that pen & phone bit was not thought out. Republicans can be their own worst enemy, just like Democrats, both abetted by an ignorant media…and in this case it was ignorance. Period.

  3. Rippleton, they claim that Obama’s executive orders are much more ‘serious’ than any other President’s. Also they don’t like anyone pointing out the obvious, they’d like that we never mention other President’s actions ever again (unless it’s about a Democratic President’s wrongdoing of course) almost as if there were no Presidents before Obama. It’s easier to blame him that way, just forget there were other Presidents who set precedent, all the while ‘they’ were ignoring or agreeing with that President’s actions. To give Professor Turley credit, he did speak out about Bush’s overreaches.

  4. DustBunnyQueen, Obama hasn’t set the precedent. The precedent for executive orders was set decades ago. It only became an issue to Republicans because they don’t want the democrats to gain any leverage in 2016. Plus, republicans still want to obstruct governing because, as they openly state, they don’t believe in a centralized government being able to regulate corporations and other big money interests. Republican representatives don’t govern and then tell their uninformed constituents, “See, the government doesn’t work as well as corporations do business. Therefore, we need to privatize (ie: hand governing over to for profit companies) all governing agencies.” Wall St. is drooling to get their hand on every tax dollar the government receives, and that middle man will cost taxpayers more money than what they now pay. All the while, corporations pay less and less in taxes as they pass the buck onto you and me. Fighting the use of executive orders at this stage of the game is just the pot calling the kettle black. No pun intended.

  5. happipappies ….yep, ornery is an apt description for many of us. In the AR 15-6 investigation and board of inquiry I mentioned, “innocence” was not actually declared, the investigation and board were adjourned (and never re-convened) when it was discovered the malfeasant weren’t a couple of sergeants, but officers of 06 & 07 rank or above. That lack of honest closure fed my “ornery” so to speak.

    1. Aridog

      That lack of honest closure fed my “ornery” so to speak.

      That’s a roger 10 4 there you know.

  6. Msjettexas … no, I am not a CFE. My time was spent in uniform and later as a military civil servant. I dealt with acquisitions, logistics, and operations and had fiduciary responsibility as part of my job. However, I’ve been through audits by DoD and an AR 15-6 investigation, so I have a fair concept of what is right and wrong. I passed every audit, and was found innocent of criminal activity in the AR 15-6 fandango. Over time I became aware of law breaking by others in our organization and because I am a contrary cuss, I acted to stop it. I am very experienced in how federal laws apply to the US Army, how federal funding is done, how appropriation law works, and what is involved in budgetary matters. I’m probably the last guy another federal outfit would want to audit them…I was taught by experts from DoD among other things. Fraud was part of only one of my enterprises, the first one, where numbers on cost estimates were altered on purpose, among other things, like using appropriated funds for purposes not covered by the appropriation.

    That said, my contrariness is what made me do it, 3 times…no question about that. I am a contrary cuss, as I said, in matters like you and I are talking about…anger makes me more determined most of the time. I see no reason that any federal servant, of any rank, should violate the law or try to invent rules in the name of law that is inapplicable.

    1. Aridog – all the Vets I know that were over in Vietnam have Ornery for a middle name

  7. @ Aridog ~ At least your doing something, even it was to stop one instance, it’s still more than most. We need more like you. Are you a CFE? I am. I’ve never seen so much twisting of rules as when I was a federal officer. I had to get out, it made me sick. Most federal agencies do not follow SOP, they have their own. My hat off to you!

  8. Msjettexas asked…

    Why would Obama convince the nation that he signed an executive order on immigration…

    Because he is a liar?

    BTW…the method he used this time is rampant within the senior institutionalized bureaucrats, and they do know how to handle it. If he knows nothing else, he knows that. My guess is fully 75% of the “rules” and regulations we toil under are done this way…it will take a very courageous Congress to remedy this, and I am not holding my breath. My relatively simple sojourns as a whistle blower convinced me that law breaking within that senior institutionalized constituency is de rigueur…in each case it was to block breaking of the law by that kind. In one instance I had to go as high as a Major General to get the order to cease and desist…but it can be done. The problem is that if one spends all their time watching out for this nonsense, there is no time to do your real job. It was alway a challenge and a risk to do so…because I tried to do both. Not too sure I was successful in the long run, only in the instance.

  9. Judicial Watch claims that Obama did not sign the Executive Order for Amnesty and our Governor-elect Greg Abbot discovered it, when he filed a lawsuit against Obama’s immigration action. Obama signed 2 executive orders but it wasn’t Amnesty.

    Fitton said that the White House effort to suggest that Obama had signed an executive order to implement his immigration plan had all the signs of a cover-up of a criminal conspiracy. Stating the federal government cannot spend money to violate immigration laws, according to the Anti-Deficiency Act, which keeps the gov’t from creating an obligation to pay money before funds have been authorized. 31 U.S. Code Section 1350


    Why would Obama convince the nation that he signed an executive order on immigration knowing it’s illegal to do so and he didn’t sign any executive order in the first place. I have never heard of these tricks in my life. . .

  10. DBQ said …

    I recognize that the issues that matter to me and the people in my area may not be as fully represented as we wish

    Agreed. Yet the very best constituent representative I have ever dealt with was Rep John Conyers (D-MI)….hardly the guy most would presume I’d respect. Yep, I disagree with his stances on most things, but when I desperately needed representation he personally stepped up for this white guy from Dearborn…something maybe you have to have lived here to realize is phenomenal. Voting almost straight Republican, I still voted for him while he was my Congressman, simply because he truly represented me went it counted…there is a reason they are called “representatives’ and John Conyers is a good example. Best part is that he kept my confidence 100%, which made a big difference in my career.

    BTW…I pay no attention to those who’d criticize me for that support. I was there, the others were not.

  11. If they are actually illegal, I agree. Something can be illegal and still be partisan. And if its partisan, that’s what it, its conclusion and its representative will be remembered for.

  12. We have had nothing but minority rule from the Republicans and blue dog democrats since President Obama was first inaugurated. That is an injustice! Why should anyone vote when your vote means nothing even if the majority of the voters agree with you? We aren’t even a Republic when voters elect a majority of representatives from one party but the other party gets to prevent what the majority voted for.

    Each Representative and Senator is sent to Congress to represent the voters of his or her district or state. Not to rubber stamp the agenda of the President or any other party whether minority or majority. They are sent by their voters to do the job that they promised (I know ha ha ha) and to represent the best interests of their voters and the entire country if possible. I don’t WANT them to compromise just for the sake of compromise., roll over and show their bellies. I want my representative to fight for my issues and the ones that we sent him/her to Congress to accomplish.

    When we have a Democrat Senator from my State or a Republican Representative from my district.. I recognize that the issues that matter to me and the people in my area may not be as fully represented as we wish. THAT is why we get to vote again in a few years and perhaps change the person occupying the seat.

    The minority part DOES get to prevent or stall the majority. That is a feature…..not a bug. The framers of the Constitution did this for the express purpose of giving the minority a voice and encouraging the various Senators and Representatives to work together to come up with solutions. In general and in the past it has worked out well sometimes and sometimes not so much. It is part of the plan. Live with it and stop whining.

    The Balance Of Powers between the Legislative, Executive and Judicial is what makes us a freer country than most and what Professor Turley is attempting to bring back INTO balance. I hope they win. Because if we do not get the Executive checked back into its proper role, we will be witnessing the end of the American government and descend into a tin pot dictator ship.

    I know you think it is OK for Obama to be making laws up and not executing laws he doesn’t like…..because you agree with him. However, this sets a terrible precedent where a future Republican can do the same thing. Would you be ok with him or her following the precedent set by Obama? I think not. AND…..neither would I be accepting of this type of tyranny.

  13. The illegal actions of others in the past neither licenses nor excuses present and future illegal actions of those in office.

  14. I didn’t mean to defend executive orders. That’s not my point. I don’t see the harm in executive orders, but at the same time I don’t have a position on it specifically. My only issue is that it is obvious even to an uninformed voter that the lawsuit is partisan and is in keeping with everything Republicans have been trying to do to this President. I think this will sully Mr. Turley’s reputation because the nation has far more serious problems than executive orders, and he has attached himself to a partisan lawsuit. There is a time for every matter under the sun, and there is a time to wait. Now was not the time for Mr. Turley to take up this fight. I personally am very disappointed he got involved in it under the circumstances. Just because you can do something, doesn’t make it right. And the end does not always justify the means. Of course, I will be surprised if this matter goes all the way up to SCOTUS without Boehner folding his hand.

  15. {Aridog
    rippleton said …

    This President’s action of “looking forward not backwards” …

    And yet all we hear is how prior administrations did the same thing. How “forward looking” is that?}

    There are bigger fish to fry, that is why it isn’t looking forward. Does an executive order tie the hands of Congress from passing legislation? No, it does not. Does an executive order supersede legislation by Congress? No! Can the next president choose not to continue a previous administration’s executive order? Yes! There is no obstruction to the branches of government.

    Just as it is in the constitution to allow each house to set up its own rules, it should not permit a branch from creating a law that undermines the purpose for the Constitution in the first place: “We the people of the United States, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION, ESTABLISH JUSTICE AND INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY, PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE, PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE, AND SECURE THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY TO OURSELVES AND OUR PROSPERITY, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Tell me how a President signing an executive order can not be in keeping with the purpose of the Constitution. You may or may not agree that an executive order has the potential to secure domestic tranquility or to form a more perfect union, but the fact remains that an executive order is not permanent. It has no lasting value in and of itself. It is only a temporary fix until Congress acts. So yes, executive orders look forward because they don’t resolve an issue. In the case of immigration, it has the potential to ease tensions inside our borders until Congress does its job by legislating a fix to the problem.

    Mr. Turley isn’t interested in getting Congress to function, or pressuring the President to bring Wall St. criminals to justice for the “GENERAL WELFARE” of the nation, or to hold the previous administration to account for knowingly lying to the American people and spending our money on an unnecessary war that killed and/or seriously wounded thousands of American service men and women. That, Aridog, is looking forward because with accountability comes responsibility. It serves to caution our government leaders before they decide in the future to abuse their authority in like manner. Mr. Turley is straining out the gnat and gulping down the camel, because he has attached himself to political, partisan gamesmanship.

  16. rippleton said …

    This President’s action of “looking forward not backwards” …

    And yet all we hear is how prior administrations did the same thing. How “forward looking” is that?

  17. Yes, Oily. I know that. But when the minority gets to rule over the wishes of the majority of the voters, democracy is undermined. We have had nothing but minority rule from the Republicans and blue dog democrats since President Obama was first inaugurated. That is an injustice! Why should anyone vote when your vote means nothing even if the majority of the voters agree with you? We aren’t even a Republic when voters elect a majority of representatives from one party but the other party gets to prevent what the majority voted for. America and it’s Constitutional separation of powers has been undermined by the minority party. Why do they think two thirds of the American electorate didn’t bother to vote? America is no longer a democracy or a republic. Mr. Turley should prioritize what’s important if he wants to save the separation of powers. Unfortunately, the establishment, as well as the judicial system and its educators, have their noses so far up in the air they presume everything should run as usual. Yet that hasn’t happened in this country since SCOTUS appointed our president for us in 2000. This President did wrong to not prosecute the reckless bankers on Wall St., and by not holding accountable the previous administration which lied us into an unnecessary war. This President’s action of “looking forward not backwards” has permitted an anything goes government and empowered the oligarchs over all Americans. Why didn’t Turley sue over that? Turley wants a battle he can eventually win and he knows SCOTUS leans right and will be in his favor. However, I’ll be surprised if Rep. Boehner does not fold his hand before it can play out, knowing full well that a victory will harm his Party’s longterm interests.

    Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

  18. rippleton,

    “So the filibuster has its constitutional origins in the ability of each house of Congress to set its own rules. It has its origins in the framers in that they saw the Senate as a place where extended debate and discussion would have a cooling effect on the actions of the more “heated” House. And it has its origins in the concept ingrained in our political system that the rights of the minority must be protected from the force of the majority.”


  19. It’s the Republicans, your client in this suit, who are refusing to govern because the President signed an executive order. There too lies a greater threat to governing powers. Why is it that congressional conservatives can state outrightly that they will refuse to govern because they got beat at their own game, and that isn’t a failure to uphold their oath to the Constitution? They, the ones Mr. Turley is representing, are the ones who are thwarting the separation of powers. Their part openly states their contempt for government, and now they express openly that they will refuse to govern! Mr. Turley, I think you need to lower your nose.

  20. And, the Washington Post leans more right than left. Your speaking of it as a friendly paper towards the President is disingenuous at best. Of course it is friendly when the President leans right, which is the greatest disappointment of him had by the vast majority of those who elected him.

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