The Obama administration will block deportations of hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants who had been brought to the country as children, ending a years-long standoff with Hispanic activists who are crucial to the president’s reelection campaign.
Obviously, the White House got nervous it was going to be left in the dust by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.):
The White House had been reluctant to go around Congress to resolve the issue, but began to feel pressure from advocates when a prominent Hispanic Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, began working with activists on a scaled-back version of the bill.
As someone who favors a change in law on this issue, I nevertheless have to ask: On what basis can the executive branch just decide it isn’t going to enforce the law? I understand prosecutorial discretion, but we do have a legislature to change laws by consensus.
Rubio responded with this statement:
There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.
Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.
Put differently, the purpose of a Dream Act-type reform is to give kids certainty to plan and live their lives in the United States. The absolutely worst way to do that is via executive fiat that can, of course, be changed with a new administration.
The president is incapable of working across the aisle, even with a willing partner such as Rubio. His disdain for Congress is evident, as is the legislative branch’s obligation to clarify or modify the law. But the president isn’t interested in the balance of powers or giving certainty to immigrants. This is about salvaging a horrendous week.