President Obama to Reform Immigration Through Executive Action
In what CNN calls “a hastily scheduled Rose Garden appearance,” President Obama spoke about immigration reform and Congressional inaction. “As we speak,” the President said at the opening of his remarks, “there are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass an immigration bill today. I would sign it into law today, and Washington would solve a problem in a bipartisan way.”
Citing what the President called “a year of obstruction,” he has decided to use executive action to reform what parts of the immigration system that he can. Specifically, the President mentioned that he directed Administration officials “to move available and appropriate resources from our interior to our border.” He also has called on Homeland Security and the Justice Department to identify anything the Administration can do legally to “fix as much of our immigration system as [they] can.”
The President also addressed those who would criticize his end-run around Congress and say that he is abusing his power. “If the House Republicans are really concerned about my taking too many executive actions,” the President said at the close of his speech, “the best solution to that is passing bills. Pass a bill; solve a problem. Don’t just say no….”
House Speaker John Boehner has promised to file a lawsuit against the President for executive overreach – most likely in response to his EPA orders from last month – but the move is like simply a spectacle. It would be unprecedented for the court to rule on what is ostensibly a political matter.
According to the American Presidency Project, since his inauguration President Obama has signed 182 executive orders. To put this into historical perspective, that is sixteen more executive orders than President George H.W. Bush signed in his single term. His son, President George W. Bush signed 291 during his eight years in the oval office, and President Clinton signed 364. Ronald Reagan, the Constitutional conservative’s favorite President, signed the most since in the past 50 years: 381.
Yet, the President is very much testing the limits of power in the Executive branch, but he is not incorrect in suggesting that he has a Congress that has admittedly said their aim is to ensure he fails.
What the House Republicans should do is not file a lawsuit, but call his bluff and start passing bipartisan bills.
Photo by Pete Souza, White House via Wikicommons