Minutes after President Obama gave his address to the nation during which he explained the executive actions he would be taking in order to fix our broken immigration system, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement commending the President for his bold action, and noting that it falls well within the constitutional and legal authority of his office.
“Tonight, President Obama announced bold action to bring our broken immigration system into line with our values as a people and our needs as a nation. The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will secure our borders, prioritize enforcement, and provide relief to millions of hard-working, law-abiding families who may now have a happy Thanksgiving free from the fear of separation.
“The President’s actions fall well within the clear constitutional and legal authority of his office, and the well-established precedent set by every president since Eisenhower. Even Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used this authority to refine our immigration system in service of the national interest.
“Executive action is no substitute for legislation, and the President’s action does not absolve Congress of its own responsibility. Democrats will continue to demand action on bipartisan immigration legislation that will provide lasting certainty to immigrant families, and secure the billions of dollars in economic benefits Republicans’ inaction has denied our country.”
Leader Pelosi is correct that President Obama’s actions are well within the legal authority of his office as observable in the fact that every other modern president has done the same. The President’s actions to not grant citizenship, only Congress can do that. The President’s actions detail deportation authority, which even the conservative Supreme Court agrees falls under Obama’s purview.
The facts of Obama’s executive actions are quite a distance from the Republican fear-mongering and hysteria over them.
Republicans still need to pass a bill. The President can’t do everything for them. At some point, they need to legislate. That is what they get paid to do.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.