Better late than never.
Twenty-two senators (all Republican, natch) sent off a blistering letter to the Man Who Would Be King, President Obama, warning him that his selective non-enforcement of the country’s immigration laws shows “an astonishing disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law, and the rights of American citizens and legal residents.”
There’s no knowing how much liquid courage the senators had to imbibe before they got the guts to sign the fiery missive, but even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell found his chin long enough to stick it out in light of Obama’s increasingly imperial approach to the presidency.
“Clearly, the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it. Since 2009, your administration has issued policy directives and memoranda incrementally nullifying immigration enforcement in the interior of the United
States,” the letter reads in part.
At issue specifically is the Administration’s ongoing “enforcement review,” sparked by a March meeting with immigrant advocacy groups, that is showing signs of further weakening the already lax enforcement of immigration laws.
ICE and Border Patrol agents have complained that Administration policies are preventing them from doing their jobs, requiring them to release many immigrants who formerly would have been deported, even those posing a criminal threat. Despite Administration claims of deporting record numbers of immigrants, critics have shown the reality is that deportations have fallen by 40 percent under Obama.
“As a result of your policies,” the letter says, “individuals here illegally who do not meet administration ‘priorities’ are not only largely exempt from the law, but are released even if they come into contact with federal law enforcement authorities. Because these priorities require at least one, and frequently multiple, criminal convictions, countless dangerous offenders are released back onto the streets on a continual basis.”
The senators also accused the Administration of “punishing ICE agents who want to uphold the oath they took to serve America,” saying that ICE agents had been disciplined for making lawful arrests.
The letter continues: “These policies have operated as an effective repeal of duly enacted federal immigration law and exceed the bounds of the Executive Branch’s prosecutorial discretion. It is not the province of the Executive to nullify the laws that the people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have chosen to enact.”
That last line should be the inscription under every picture of Obama printed from now till Doomsday.
Obama has abused his powers since the day he stepped into the Oval Office, but his flaunting of the law has grown by leaps and bounds since his State of the Union speech, in which he informed the world that Congress was now irrelevant and that he would rule by executive order.
The Congress, or at least the Republicans in it, should have curb stomped the Weasel-in-Chief then and there by walking out of the chamber, but perhaps the leadership was working under the theory that revenge is best served cold.
The fact that McConnell, who usually leads from the rear and suits up as a yes man for the Administration, signed on to this letter is intriguing and makes me think that we might for once see some follow through. I won’t hold my breath, but here’s hoping.