Monday, June 28, 2010

Congress and immigration

A few days ago, eight Republican senators sent a letter to President Obama in the face of rumors that he would issue an executive order stopping (at least temporarily) the deportation of undocumented immigrants with no criminal convictions.  I found the following particularly absurd:

`We understand that there's a push for your administration to develop a plan to unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States,'' the letter reads. ``While deferred action and parole are Executive Branch authorities, they should not be used to circumvent Congress' constitutional authority to legislate immigration policy, particularly as it relates to the illegal population in the United States.''

Three thoughts come to mind:

First, this is coming from senators who adamantly refuse to exert their constitutional authority on the matter.

Second, they did not write a letter complaining about states like Arizona circumventing their constitutional authority.

Third, this sort of thing helps you understand why Congress is so abysmally unpopular.


Anonymous,  1:01 PM  

1) I doubt these 8 Republicans are unwilling to exercise their constitutional authority but, obviously as a minority, they can't pass their preferred legislation.
2) The authority of Arizona to legislate on police powers regarding immigrants is a legal dispute not a settled fact.
3) Congress is undoubtedly unpopular but there is little or no connection to the 8 Republicans position on immigration. Clearly public opinion polls show the support for the restrictionist side of the immigration debate.

This kind of commentary is vapid. We already know your views on this subject, but you (and I) are in the national minority. A more valuable analysis would be what can Obama and the Democratic majority do despite the clear political obstacles. What is possible? What are the potential costs/benefits to proceeding in a midterm election year?

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