In presenting his plan for amnesty to the American people, Barack Obama cited his belief in the rule of law. But in his willingness to both ignore constitutional precedent, ignore the established law on immigration, and ignore the laws illegal aliens have broken, he has betrayed that supposed belief. Not only does that pose serious questions about the future of the presidency, it serves as an ominous warning about the future of the country.
Americans believe in freedom, but there is a difference between the kind of liberty that serves as our strength and unrestrained anarchy. Freedom comes with restrictions. We have laws against murder, burglary, rape, and other crimes because the country would be in shambles without them. The same is true of our immigration laws. The same is true for our laws prescribing limited power for each branch of the government. All of these laws work together to form a societal structure proven to stand the test of time.
Are there occasions where laws need to be amended to reflect societal changes? Of course. The founding fathers were wise enough to create a system that allows for those changes. It’s a slow process, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Changing a law shouldn’t be as expedient as ordering a cheeseburger. If a proposed change can make it through both houses of Congress, survive the president’s veto pen, and resist legal challenge in the courts, we can reliably say that the change was a good one. Will everyone agree? Definitely not. But when you thwart that process by executive decree, you ruin everything that is good about the American political system.
Any immigrant who took the tough, legal road to American citizenship must feel a bit foolish today. Why did they waste the time, money, and effort to stay inside the law when they could have just jumped the fence? Do you think Obama’s amnesty action will make it more likely or less likely for future immigrants to go through the recommended legal process? Is there even a question?
It’s been established that Obama said numerous times that he didn’t have the constitutional authority to broaden deferred deportations. Lack of congressional expediency is not a legitimate reason for the president to ignore established law. It reminds me of media pirates who cite expensive CDs and movie tickets as an excuse to download their entertainment. You can’t simply ignore the laws you don’t like. What kind of example has the president set for our citizenry? If a car salesman fails to give me the deal I want, can I steal the car? What code of ethics prevents it, and why doesn’t it apply to Obama?
If we do not see vehement, tangible opposition to Obama’s executive action – not just talk – then we are living in post-law America. There’s no doubt in my mind that future presidents will use this moment in history to ignore the law when convenient. That’s why, regardless of personal feelings on immigration, everyone should oppose what Obama did. Next time a president decides to go into business for himself, you may not like the results.