Monday, November 10, 2014

A Few Thoughts On Mass Amnesty

So President Obama, as near as I can figure, is threatening to turn a couple million illegals into citizens if he doesn't get his way with some kind of "comprehensive immigration" bill. On the surface of it, this seems insane. The more I think about it, the more insane it becomes. Here are a few random thoughts, in no particular order.
  1. Someone ought to ask him or his henchcreatures, "What is a border?" As far as I can tell, we don't have one. If unattended children can get into a place without much effort, then that place isn't secure at all. What's the point of even drawing a line on a map and saying this side of the line is one thing and that side of the line is another if children can cross the line at will?

  2. If Obama can leave the southern border unguarded and then turn everyone who crosses it into a citizen, why can't a future president do the same with a different nationality? What if a devout Catholic president said that everyone from Ireland and the Philippines can get in for free and then I'll make them a citizen with a wave of my magic wand?

  3. Where in the constitution does it say that he can do this? Article II, Section 2 is the closest I could find to granting the president such powers, but it seems pretty sketchy to me. 
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
    I could see where that might allow him to grant amnesty, but making them citizens is another thing entirely. All of the stuff about rules for becoming citizens is granted to the legislature.

  4. How does this not end with impeachment? Can you allow any president to simply run wild? Clinton committed perjury and that was enough for impeachment proceedings. This is orders of magnitude worse. If this happens and is allowed to stand then you no longer have a legislature worthy of the name.

  5. Where on Earth did Obama and his cronies go to school? What were they being taught? I know the answer to that one already. They were taught by the same lunatics that teach my daughter right now. It's all activism all the time. There are no rules, no classics, no standards, only injustices to be fought and fought and fought. Rage, organize, vote, picket, protest - these are what she is taught, if only implicitly and yet constantly in every class, science included.

  6. If it does not end in impeachment, how does this not end in secession? If the president can make things up out of thin air and impose his will on the states, a la King George, why do they have to stick around and take it? Dittos for a judiciary gone mad. To take one instance, Californians voted legally to amend our state constitution to define marriage and the Supreme Court said our constitutional amendment was unconstitutional. From that point on, Californians ceased to have control over their government.

  7. Further along the secession point, how much weed and porn do you need to consume on a daily basis to surrender sovereignty in border and sovereignty in law and lay around taking it? If Federal courts can overturn your voting and Obama dissolves the border and lets everyone in to vote, you cease to be a citizen and have become a subject. Does anyone care?
I guess that last thought is the most important. Is moral relativism so pervasive that only a few holdouts still care about this stuff?

It's a weird time to be an American, man. A really weird time.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating either impeachment or secession. This is just some noodling around, a free thought writing exercise triggered by the events of the day.


tim eisele said...

Interestingly, if you go to the Constitution to see who has the authority to control immigration or grant citizenship, you don't find much. The most explicit thing I find is:

"The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person."

And while the 14th amendment does state that everyone born in the US is a citizen, I'm not seeing anything else in the Constitution saying how other people would go about becoming citizens.

So, one could argue that the Constitution doesn't give the federal government any authority over immigration beyond charging a $10 entry fee, and that they don't have any written authority to grant citizenship at all (it looks to me as if the states were supposed to be the ones granting citizenship).

So to put it bluntly, if one is going to argue about immigration and citizenship policy, the Constitution is No Help At All.

tim eisele said...

OK, now I see it:

Section 8, Congress has the power to establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization.

Boy, it sure is easy to miss, though. And that bit from Section 9 sure sounds like the authors of the Constitution didn't want much in the way of immigration restrictions.

K T Cat said...

I was incomplete. Here's more:

Congress makes laws. The executive branch executes and enforces them. Immigration law is plentiful and specific. I don't think there's a part of it that says a president can decree millions of people who have broken properly passed and enacted laws citizens without Congress passing such a bill.

When I looked through the Constitution, it was to find something that would let him not just ignore the law, but directly violate it. I get the whole, "not enforcing all the laws" thing, but this seems to be way beyond that.

There are explicit, legal routes to citizenship. President Obama uttering the Magic Word isn't one of them. That's what makes this a constitutional crisis in my view.

tim eisele said...

I agree that Obama offering to grant citizenship through executive order would be a massive overreach of his authority. But, I can't really find anything suggesting that he intends to do anything much beyond allowing some of them to stay as temporary legal residents, which is not at all the same thing. They'd still have to go thorugh the same naturalization process as anyone else if they wanted to be citizens.

So is there some announcement that I've missed seeing that says otherwise?

Trigger Warning said...

From the Cornell Law School website:

Congress has complete authority over immigration. Presidential power does not extend beyond refugee policy. Except for questions regarding aliens' constitutional rights, [even] the courts have generally found the immigration issue as nonjusticiable.

And, as it happens, I'm married to a woman who practices immigration law (among other specialties). We have discussed this many times, and I can assure readers that, as the Cornell site clearly states, the Executive branch does not have the power to "grant" green cards or any other extension. What part of "Congress has complete authority over immigration" don't some folks understand? Seems pretty simple to me.

The Executive can do two things: (1) violate the Oath of Office and decline to enforce existing law (which is probably impeachable), or (2) grant them refugee status.

K T Cat said...

Thanks for clearing all of that up!

K T Cat said...

Byron York on what Obama will probably do: "Obama's edict will involve ordering the executive branch not to enforce laws that Congress has passed and that lawmakers have specifically declined to change. Writing the nation's immigration laws is the responsibility of Congress, and Obama's action will likely be a major encroachment on the legislature's constitutional authority."

Without the threat of any kind of action against them, illegals will be effectively citizens. Without ID checks on voting, many illegals will undoubtedly register to vote.

K T Cat said...

One more thing - my first question is the most important one to me. What is a border? What does it mean to have one? What is the intellectual underpinning of his decisions? Is he a one-world dude who thinks borders are an anachronism? That's not a rhetorical question, either.

IlĂ­on said...

Well, now. Give the man a break!

After all, Our Zero, Who art The Won, did state right up front that his summum bonum was to "fundamentally transform America". And as anyone willing to think understands from the very meanings of the words, the only way to "fundamentally transform" what a thing is is to change it into what it is not.

Trigger Warning said...

York: Obama's edict will involve ordering the executive branch not to enforce laws...

Maybe, but I doubt it unless he's looking to trigger a Constitutional crisis. That's tempting impeachment. I'm guessing what he will extend deferred action (e.g., deferred action for childhood arrivals, or DACA) to more, and older, illegals. That's a way of not enforcing right now but someday in the nebulous future 'cause we can't really afford it while we're searching purses for Mexican oranges or something equally idiotic. Deferred action avoids the accusation of violating the Oath of Office while violating the Oath of Office.

As to the border question, the border is whatever we want it to be. Obama is a red-diaper Internationale cantor, and he wants it to be an ante-utopian historical curiosity.