Immigration/Executive Action/Imperial Presidency/End of the Republic Open Thread
There is a lot of really interesting commentary out there right now on Obama’s announcement of executive actions he intends to take on immigration.
So much, its hard to single out a few things of it as among the best. So I won’t try: go find it yourself.
I don’t find myself with much to say about it that isn’t being said elsewhere, and I also find myself vacillating between the basic views that characterize the reaction. Namely, on the one hand that this is an action that is justified on the policy merits and clearly legal, and on the other that it disregards Congress’ role and generally continues the expansion of the president’s role in making policy Congress is empowered to make. All of that can be true at the same time. I guess where I come down is that, while Congress can’t reverse the general trend toward presidential aggrandizement, in many individual instances they could easily be more forceful in asserting and exercising their powers, and they could prevent some specific acts like this by choosing to address the basic problems the country faces in a timely and responsible way.
People are saying that this action will raise the temperature of partisan fighting in Washington in the upcoming Congress, and it may do that. But I actually expect it to provide a bit of breathing space to all parties on the specific issue of immigration. It’s said that this action makes Congressional action on immigration essentially impossible during the upcoming Congress. That may be, but I wonder whether, not so long after that, it may make conditions slightly easier for legislative reform to take place. Some part of the political burden of one of the more difficult tasks that Congress would have to undertake – reckoning with the presence of millions of undocumented but productive people – has been taken on by another branch of government. They can say that since executive “refuses” to enforce the law (as they have always done in this area), it should at least be changed so that the system can be functional. That may be a pipe dream, though. We shall see.
This is also best for a formal party
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