Texas Judge Turns Heat off Frog Pot
© Jack Cashill
For the last fifteen or so years if not longer, our government has been slowly turning up the heat on us largely clueless Amphibian-Americans, hoping not enough of us would notice we were being cooked.
On November 20, 2014, Barack Obama had his DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson, turn up the gas with a new program to block deportation proceedings and award certain benefits to as many as five millions illegal aliens.
Johnson did so a bit too obviously. We frogs finally noticed and prodded the elected officials of Texas and twenty-five other states to croak loud enough to catch the attention of Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen.
On Monday, Judge Hanen, temporarily at least, turned off the heat. He issued a preliminary injunction preventing the White House from shredding the Constitution and destroying the Republic degree by degree.
How America reached the point where a federal judge was needed to save the country from its own government is worth revisiting.
Since year one of the Bush administration, Congress had been trying to pass the awkwardly titled Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, better known as the DREAM Act, an idealized acronym contrived to paper over what was essentially a crime.
Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Orren Hatch first introduced the bill in the Senate in August 2001, another bi-partisan highlight during the allegedly polarizing Bush era.
In a nutshell, this bill and its many variants would have provided permanent residency to those illegal aliens who had arrived in the United States as minors and behaved themselves well enough thereafter not to get kicked out.
Although President Bush supported comprehensive immigration reform as did President Obama, neither the DREAM Act nor any major immigration overhaul made it to their desks, largely because no variation of such a bill could muster adequate congressional support.
In 2009, eight powerful U.S. Senators sponsored still another version of the DREAM Act. In 2010, despite Democratic control of both Houses of Congress, the bill did not make it out of the Senate.
As late as 2006, candidate Obama saw such robust debates as a healthy part of “the complex machinery of checks and balances,” but once he ascended to the presidency, all bets were off.
The problem was that Obama could not enact the DREAM Act unilaterally—or so he told America about 22 times--and he could not evade Article I, section 7 of the Constitution, which specifies how a law is created by pretending that it passed when it did not.
“America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law,” he told a Univision audience in March 2011. "With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed.”
In June 2012, Obama decided that what he said in March 2011 no longer applied. He had apparently grown weary of all this checks and balances claptrap given that the result was “an absence of any immigration action from Congress.”
Knowing the media would give him a pass, Obama decided to dispense with debate and fix immigration policy by his own lights, confident he could make that policy “more fair, more efficient, and more just.”
This fix started with a presidentially guaranteed relief from deportation for the so-called “Dreamers” and the right to apply for work authorization, both guarantees in full defiance of existing federal law.
“ There has long been a general consensus that a president cannot refuse to enforce a law that is considered constitutionally sound,” said liberal constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley. That chapter was apparently missing from Obama’s law books.
The speech that introduced this change of immigration policy was littered with lies and half-truths that could have stirred Joe “You Lie” Wilson from his grave, let alone his seat.
It was not “immunity,” not a “path to citizenship,” only “temporary,” said Obama, fully expecting to turn a million or so Dreamers into grateful voters as soon as he could get away with it.
Once able to vote, they would be able to say on Election Day what Obama told a Univision audience in October 2010 all Latinos should be saying, “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”
On August 23, 2013, in a move that most major media barely noticed, the Obama administration subtly expanded the list of those who would be excluded from deportation.
Deep in a nine-page memo from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters to its field offices was an order that “prosecutorial discretion” be shown to parents or guardians of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents, a.k.a. “Dreamers.”
Said Turley, “ In ordering this blanket exception, President Obama was nullifying part of a law that he simply disagreed with. There is no claim of unconstitutionality.”
What troubled Turley even more was the willingness of so many participants in this debate to accept Obama’s “transparent effort to rewrite the immigration law” after Congress had repeatedly declined to pass many of those same reforms.
"Because the House has refused to consider the DREAM Act and a filibuster blocked it in the Senate,” said Dick Durbin as indifferent to the rule of law as a senator from Swaziland, “this presidential action was absolutely necessary to serve the cause of justice."
So apparently was the action to expand that one million undocumented Democrats into five million, a project that Obama damn near got away with.
It was too close a call. Time to wake up, my fellow amphibians!
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