Free Markets, Free People

Immigration: Political integrity, or the lack thereof

In his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope”,  then Senator Barack Obama laid out the argument against illegal immigration:

“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before.”

”Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote.

“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

So why is he now contemplating doing, in a down economy with high unemployment and high deficits (and stretched welfare system), exactly what he previously claimed was harmful to America and its workers?  Has he somehow “evolved” in his thinking to a belief that his logically sound 2006 argument is now poppycock?  That flooding the US with immigrant workers will somehow keep wages up and not put a strain on the “already overburdened safety net?”  It seems pretty counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

But then, let us not forget that this is the guy who condemned George W. Bush for his use of executive orders and executive overreach and promised not to do it if he were elected to the presidency:

 “I taught constitutional law for ten years. I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

Of course, he hasn’t “reverse[d]” it, has he?  And past public polls have shown an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t support the use of executive orders to circumvent Congress (and let us not forget that he had an overwhelming Democratic majority for his first two years in office and essentially ignored the immigration issue).

Ross Douthat summarizes:

So there is no public will at work here. There is only the will to power of this White House.

Which is why the thinking liberal’s move, if this action goes forward, will be to invoke structural forces, flaws inherent in our constitutional order, to justify Obama’s unilateralism. This won’t be a completely fallacious argument: Presidential systems like ours have a long record, especially in Latin America, of producing standoffs between executive and legislative branches, which tends to make executive power grabs more likely. In the United States this tendency has been less dangerous — our imperial presidency has grown on us gradually; the worst overreaches have often been rolled back. But we do seem to be in an era whose various forces — our open-ended post-9/11 wars, the ideological uniformity of the parties — are making a kind of creeping caudillismo more likely.

But if that evil must come, woe to the president who chooses it. And make no mistake, the president is free to choose. No immediate crisis forces his hand; no doom awaits the country if he waits. He once campaigned on constitutionalism and executive restraint; he once abjured exactly this power. There is still time for him to respect the limits of his office, the lines of authority established by the Constitution, the outcome of the last election.

Or he can choose the power grab, and the accompanying disgrace.

And there’s little doubt, he will choose the latter and further add to his reputation as someone who has no political integrity at all.


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9 Responses to Immigration: Political integrity, or the lack thereof

  • …further add to his reputation as someone who has no political integrity at all.

    He has…and never in his life displayed…ANY integrity of any kind. At all. Ever.

    The idea of “integrity” flows from the concept of being sound, firm, and reliable. Which is why we speak of “structural integrity” in terms of buildings or devices. Someone with integrity is true to themselves, and someone you can count on for that quality.

    Barracula NEVER was that.

  • “Or he can choose the power grab, and the accompanying disgrace.”

    What disgrace? Anybody remember the draft-dodging, disbarred sexual pervert and accused rapist who is now an international star and popular fundraiser? The one who was the lowest paid Governor in America yet had enough money where a $20,000 loan he made slipped his mind? Disgrace? Please, this is the 21st century..

  • We, the American people, need to be trying to prevent this unconstitutional Executive Order at all all levels of government by contacting our representatives at the national level AND ALSO at the local and state level. At the national level, we need to asking our Representative and Senators to withhold funding on any and all programs associated with the implementation of the EO-mandated amnesty AND TO WRITE A PROVISION IN THE BUDGET BILL THAT WILL MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO TRANSFER ANY FUNDS FROM ANY SOURCE TO COVER ANY AND ALL ASPECTS OF THIS EXECUTIVE AMNESTY.. Also, we need to ask our state and local representatives to be thinking about the actions the states and local communities can take to slow down the full implementation of this Executive Branch power grab.

    • I had the thought that each state could pass a law giving a private cause of action against anyone hiring an illegal alien. It would take some careful drafting, but it could be done I think under “restraint of trade” theory (unfair competition). Statutory damages of $1,000 per each count. That would lead to a LOT of self-deportation.

      Also, most states have laws on the books against identity theft, which is a very common practice among illegals. They could just crack down. More self-deportation.

  • Gonna be fun when a GOP Pres does the same thing, only this time for rolling back regulations, or taxes, or maybe abortion.

    Gonna sit and enjoy the ensuing sh-tstorm over that one.

  • Ya know, we could just refuse to allow these immigrants anything by way of making their lives ‘legal’.
    They like to write laws that take forever to be contested and fought out in court.

    Use the reverse method – ignore the law and wait for them to drag you into court.

    Just have to be sure which immigrants you’re refusing so as not to screw with legal immigrants.
    The DOJ would quickly be busier than a one armed paper hanger with an itch.

  • Off topic, but I thought many of you would want to know about this.

    A tragedy that no words can eclipse if you are a father.

    My heart goes out to Victor Davis Hanson at the loss of his daughter. She seemed a very bright star, too soon extinguished.

  • Can YOU say “Voter Fraud”? I knew you could.