by Arthur Christopher Schaper
Junior US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) delivered the following letter (partially reprinted below in italics) to President Obama and for public release on November 17, 2014. Referring to the US Senate’s comprehensive reform legislation from 2013, the senator pleaded with the President to enact needed reforms without Congressional approval or authorization.
US Senator Barbara Boxer pleads for Executive Amnesty
Even though the Democrats lost the majority on November 4th, President Obama and his diminishing political majority insist on pushing amnesty piecemeal, regardless of the Constitution or the will of the American constituents, particularly those who rejected amnesty supporters in the House and US Senate for reelection.
In addition to the letter below, I will include remarks during my heated exchange with Senator Boxer’s Washington DC staff. Their complete indifference to the rule of the law, particularly the Constitution, is quite disturbing.
In light of the refusal by the Republican House of Representatives to pass the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill, I urge you to take executive action to fulfill the critical goals of that comprehensive bill, which passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 68-32 on June 27, 2013.
Senator Boxer must have failed high school civics. Legislation requires support from both chambers of Congress before coming to the President’s desk. She neglected that a number of Republicans were willing to work together with the President and the US Senate for immigration proposals, but after executive actions from the President, the House conference believed that they could not trust the President to enforce the new bill, which required stiff border control before enacting amnesty. The President has ignored his own laws, has enacted signing statements and other extralegal policies to further limited policy aims. Why should anyone in Washington extend him discretion on immigration policy?
Furthermore, Boxer forgets that her party had majority control of Congress from 2008 until Election 2010, particularly a supermajority in the US Senate. I spoke with an immigration policy official in Boxer’s DC office, and he had no explanation why she and her colleagues did nothing on immigration then.
In doing so, you will be following in the tradition of past presidents of both parties.
This talking point about Republican Presidential executive action is misleading as well as irrelevant. Presidents, regardless of their political party, should not resort to executive action apart from Congressional approval on anything. No principled conservative, or American citizen in general, would settle for such reasoning. Regarding President Reagan’s passage of Simpson-Mizzoli in 1986, the fact that he signed legislation, then followed through with executive action justifies the fact that the President does not get to act apart from Congress. The Constitution was designed with this check-and-balance chiefly in mind.
President Obama himself acknowledged in his own book The Audacity of Hope, as well as numerous times as Senator, as Presidential candidate, and President, that he did not have the authority to unilaterally rewrite immigration laws.
I urge you to ignore the angry voices of the do-nothing crowd in Congress who have repeatedly blocked progress on immigration reform. If they really cared about fixing our broken immigration system, they would not be threatening to shut down the government or file wasteful lawsuits.
The simple answer: If the Democrats in Washington really cared about fixing the broken immigration system, they would have done so between 2009-2011 instead of bulldozing an unpopular stimulus package at the outset (with no Republican votes), then trying to pass Cap and Trade, which died in the US Senate, and then forcing on the American people Obamacare, which barely survived through immoral kick-backs and a rush reconciliation process. There’s also Dodd-Frank, which has wreaked havoc on the banking industry, benefitting Too Big to Fail firms at the expense of smaller banks and credit unions.
For the record, “those angry” voices pressed against Republicans and Democrats in 2006-2007 when Republicans held Congressional majorities as well as the Presidency. Angry voices from Americans across the country do not support amnesty, nor the criminal enterprises which have emerged from illegal immigration: drug wars, identity theft, welfare fraud, human trafficking, and property damage.
Reforming our immigration system is one of the best things we could do for our economy.
Boxer then lists a number of suspect statistics. More importantly, these facts beg the question. No one disputes that increased legal immigration is good for an economy. But it has to be legal. Furthermore, this country’s citizenry deserves a secure border with proper health and safety screenings on all incoming immigrants. Criminals and infected persons need not apply.
[I]f we do not act, the dire situation of undocumented immigrants will only get worse – families will continue to be torn apart and, as people continue to live in the shadows, our economy will suffer.
Whoever claimed that families would be torn apart? President Obama’s unlawful executive action in 2012 made a bad problem worse. In 2014, a record sixty thousand illegal immigrant minors swarmed the US borders, seeking asylum, amnesty, and citizenship. This surge is a direct result of President Obama’s arrogant arrogation of power at the expense of legal measures. Once again, Democrats had the opportunity with a sympathetic President to do something about these families. Even liberal Democrat Luis Gutierrez acknowledged this failure to his constituents.
The American people, including the people of my state, support bold and compassionate action on immigration reform.
Boxer should know better: No Amnesty
Boxer cannot count on my support, including the heated displeasure which I shared with her office staff. Polling indicates that only 20% of November 2014 voters supported Obama’s purported executive action. Americans overwhelmingly support lowering immigration, too. As for California, the only people welcoming this amnesty are the liberal, Democratic politicians as well immigration attorneys, bureaucrats, and amnesty advocates who have seen their numbers (and popularity) diminish statewide. Senator Boxer’s flawed logic and cheap emotional ploys to rally executive amnesty should have all Americans on the alert to push back against a ruthless, lawless executive and reject his planned illegal maneuvers on immigration.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.
Twitter — @ArthurCSchaper