One of the bits of genius installed by the founders of this country was three co-equal branches of government, each responsible for a different part of the governing turf. And the function of the three is not only to be the primary governmental institution in its explicit area of control, but to serve as a "check” on the others and provide “balance” by not letting one branch get more powerful than another.
In the area of immigration, to this point, the executive branch, under Barack Obama, has mostly done that with notable exceptions. But now, it appears, all appearances of following the law as laid down by Congress seems to have been thrown under the bus. The Obama administration has, for all intents and purposes, decided what how the law will be interpreted whether Congress likes it or not. After all, there’s an election in the offing, activist groups to be satisfied and votes to be bought:
Bowing to pressure from immigrant rights activists, the Obama administration said Thursday that it will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, such as attending school, having family in the military or having primary responsible for other family members’ care.
The move marks a major step for President Obama, who for months has said he does not have broad categorical authority to halt deportations and said he must follow the laws as Congress has written them.
But in letters to Congress on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she does have discretion to focus on “priorities” and that her department and the Justice Department will review all ongoing cases to see who meets the new criteria.
“This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,” she said. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high-priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.”
Right … and to totally ignore cases against illegal immigrants who meet the arbitrary standards the administration finds to be “acceptable”.
This, of course, makes it clear to any illegal immigrant what the bare minimum is necessary to avoid deportation. It’s a government sponsored “okay” to stay illegally. Just meet one of the criteria (or appear too) and we’ll ignore the law for you.
However you feel about illegal immigration, we’ve always featured ourselves as a nation of laws, not men. A nation of laws is one which follows laws and, if they don’t like the law, feel it is fair, or whatever, go through the process of changing the law or abolishing it. What a nation of laws doesn’t do is ignore the law or arbitrarily pick and choose the parts it will follow. Imagine, if you will, deciding that you weren’t going to follow certain laws because you felt they were unfair. Say, doing 25 in a school zone. You tell the officer who stops you that doing 25 is not fuel efficient and you’ve chosen to ignore it and do 45. How far do you think that would get you in terms of avoiding a ticket?
In this case we have an administration that has decided to pick and choose what part of laws it will enforce. It isn’t the first. But this sort of blatant disregard for enforcing the law is both dangerous and something which needs to be stopped and stopped now.
If the executive branch finds a law to be something it has concerns or problems with, it’s recourse should be changing it through the legislative body, per the Constitution. Or taking it to the Judicial branch for a Constitutional check, if that’s appropriate. What it must not do is precisely what it is doing – ignoring Congress and literally taking the law into its own hands.
That is the law of men – arbitrary, selective, dangerous and wrong.