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Posts Tagged ‘immigration’
February 26th, 2015 at 8:23 pm
Treasury Dept. Approves $3 Billion Transfer to Insurance Companies that Congress Denied

A letter from House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) demands an explanation from the Treasury Department on why it allowed $3 billion in payments to ObamaCare insurance companies that Congress never approved.

In a well-documented piece, Philip Klein gives a disturbing summary of the Obama administration deliberately refusing to follow the law.

“At issue are payments to insurers known as cost-sharing subsidies,” writes Klein. “These payments come about because President Obama’s healthcare law forces insurers to limit out-of-pocket costs for certain low income individuals by capping consumer expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments, in insurance plans. In exchange for capping these charges, insurers are supposed to receive compensation.”

Here’s the rub.

“What’s tricky is that Congress never authorized any money to make such payments to insurers in its annual appropriations, but the Department of Health and Human Services, with the cooperation of the U.S. Treasury, made them anyway,” says Klein.

As proof, Klein cites a $4 billion funding request for the cost-sharing subsidies program in 2014 that was not fulfilled by Congress. It’s now 2015, the bills are coming due, and the Obama administration effectively said, “Never mind.”

Whether the domain is immigration or ObamaCare, the default setting for this administration seems to be that if it can’t get what it wants the legal way, it’s just as good to go around the law.

February 26th, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Boehner Stands Firm on Tying DHS Funding to Amnesty Ban

Kudos to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for declining the Senate GOP’s offer to cave to Democrats’ demand for a so-called “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

As I discuss in my column this week, some Senate Republican leaders are getting gun shy about following through with the party’s promise to condition funding for DHS on new legislative language that specifically prohibits immigration agencies from implementing President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty program. They warn that Republicans will be blamed for the shutdown that would start on Sunday when the DHS budget ends, if no new bill is passed. Better, they argue, to appropriate the money now and hope the federal judiciary holds Obama accountable in the future.

At a press conference today, Boehner reminded everyone that – at least publicly – “All Republicans agree that we need to fund the Department of Homeland Security and we want to stop the president’s actions in response to immigration.”

Ever the politician, Boehner “would not say whether he would back a Senate funding bill without provisions that would defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration,” reports National Journal.

Still, it’s encouraging to hear the Speaker of the House sound resolute in defense of the rule of law when so much of the political class is aching to cut a deal.

February 24th, 2015 at 2:26 pm
Is Obama’s Diva Status a Reason to Accelerate Amnesty Lawsuit?

Consider the following as an example of how much President Barack Obama and his administration think the rule of law should bend to suit their political calculations.

The Justice Department asked a federal court on Monday to reverse its decision to halt the president’s unilateral amnesty directive within 48 hours so that Obama could assure activists attending a town hall in Miami on Wednesday that deportation waivers and work permits would be in the mail.

The expedited timeline is being objected to by Texas and the 20+ other states suing to require the Obama administration to follow federal law and give advance notice and a comment period to the public, reports the LA Times.

Fairness suggests that if the Justice Department took a week to file its request to reverse, Texas and its fellow challengers should get at least as much time to defend their position.

The Justice Department’s self-serving request highlights the central problem driving this litigation – Obama is a diva whose political calculations trump the rule of law.

The federal courts should slap down that dangerous misconception, early and often.

February 23rd, 2015 at 6:36 pm
Gov. Abbott: 20,000 Crossed Texas Border Since January 1

It looks like the surge of illegal immigration across the southern border isn’t getting any better.

“Already this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people come across the border, apprehended, unauthorized. And so we have an ongoing problem on the border that Congress must step up and solve,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said while appearing on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday.

Abbott said that to stem the tide he is posting an additional 500 Texas Rangers near the border. The cost for the expanded presence will come from the state’s budget, even though responsibility for securing the border belongs to the federal government.

Abbott was on the show to discuss the Texas-led lawsuit he initiated challenging President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty program because it failed to follow federal law granting the public a notice and comment period before being implemented. Last week a federal district judge agreed with the challengers and granted a temporary injunction to halt Obama’s program.

Barely a month into office, Abbott is proving himself to be a conservative leader who knows how to get results in the courtroom and the court of public opinion.

February 18th, 2015 at 5:12 pm
Obama’s Amnesty Program Halted for Failure to Follow the Rules

President Barack Obama seemingly loves to invite controversy and criticism for using executive discretion to rewrite or ignore federal law. He and his allies apparently believe that when critics say his actions violate the Constitution, most people assume the dispute is too complex to understand or simply motivated by ideology.

So perhaps what’s needed to focus the public’s attention is a straightforward line of argument that shows Obama deliberately disregarding a bright line rule.

If so, Judge Andrew Hanen may have found it.

On Tuesday, Hanen granted a temporary injunction to Texas and more than twenty other states suing to stop Obama’s unilateral amnesty from going into effect. The reason is simple. By announcing the plan without any advance notice, Obama violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The APA is a very important but little known federal law that tries to rein in the administrative state by requiring agencies to give notice and accept comments before implementing changes in policy. Because Obama did not comply with this very simple rule, his amnesty plan is, in effect, illegal.

The Obama administration is already working on an appeal to the Fifth Circuit, and time will tell whether this very straightforward application of the law to the facts is undone somehow with lawyerly sleight-of-hand.

In the meantime, critics of the Obama administration’s disregard for the rule of law can enjoy the fact that, for the moment at least, the most activist president in modern times is being stymied by the very Act that makes governmental activism possible.

February 3rd, 2015 at 7:36 pm
Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats Vote to Shut Down DHS; Time for GOP to Play Hardball

Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Senate Democrats voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security today.

The piece of legislation they voted down was a Republican bill to fund DHS for the rest of the fiscal year with the caveat that no funds could be spent implementing President Barack Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty. Currently, the DHS budget is set to expire at the end of February.

The decision probably didn’t involve too much deliberation or anguish since Reid & Co. can count on a sympathetic media to frame the result as Republican obstruction, i.e. not letting Obama and the Democratic Party run roughshod over federal law to curry favor with millions of potential future voters.

If anything Reid and his allies probably think they helped Obama save face by shielding him from having to veto common sense legislation for naked political reasons. Now, Obama can blame Congress for not working, even though it’s the members of his own party that are throwing up roadblocks.

One thing that is clear is that Reid never would have whipped his entire caucus in opposition unless Obama had authorized it. So, call this an indirect veto of Republicans’ immigration funding maneuver and we’re right where we would have been had the bill passed and been rejected.

Obama and Reid play on the same team, so Republicans can’t let the media portray this as anything other than what it is – a high stakes dispute over whether policy gets decided according to the rule of law or the whim of one.

If the president wants to start the negotiating process earlier than expected, so be it. Republicans in Congress shouldn’t use this an excuse to cave.

There had to be a strategy to overcome the veto, at least in the court of public opinion. After today’s vote, it’s time to accelerate the time line.

January 8th, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Rep. Roby Files Bill to Defund Obama’s Amnesty

If you want to know how Congress can stop President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty plan, take a look at Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-AL) new proposal – H.R. 31, the “Prevention of Executive Amnesty Act of 2015.”

Filed as a standalone bill, the measure could easily be rolled into the upcoming appropriations package for the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that is tasked with implementing Obama’s decision to halt deportations for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and grant many of them work permits.

As Byron York explains, “Roby’s bill is essentially a ‘none of the funds’ clause, that is, it forbids the executive branch from spending money for a particular purpose.” In the so-called ‘crominbus’ bill passed in December to fund every other federal agency except DHS, Congress used the ‘none of the funds’ clause more than 450 times. Applying it to the directives that implement Obama’s amnesty is a simple, straightforward way for Congress to use its power of the purse to block the move.

Of course, Obama can veto any bill with Roby’s language. But since the president doesn’t have a line-item veto, refusing to sign the law would defund DHS.

For once, let this president get the blame for shutting down the government.

December 17th, 2014 at 2:34 pm
Fed Judge Says Obama’s Amnesty Unconstitutional

A federal district judge has said that President Barack Obama’s amnesty program for illegal immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution.

The only question: Does it matter?

Judge Arthur Schwab, a George W. Bush appointee, issued a ruling yesterday saying that, “President Obama’s executive action goes beyond prosecutorial discretion because: (a) it provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examination; and (b) it allows undocumented immigrants, who fall within these broad categories, to obtain substantive rights.”

Unfortunately, however, Judge Schwab’s declaration may be little more than a non-binding advisory opinion. According to conservative law professor Jonathan Adler – one of the originators of the ObamaCare subsidies challenge now before the U.S. Supreme Court – Schwab’s ruling came after he requested supplemental briefing in a case trying to decide how to sentence an illegal immigrant for a non-immigration-related crime. Apparently, Schwab wanted to know if the defendant qualified for protection from deportation under Obama’s plan. Schwab then used the occasion to find the amnesty program unconstitutional.

While legal experts like Adler try to figure out how much to make of this opinion, Schwab’s ruling points to a larger issue. Namely, that major policy changes have major policy implications. For example, legal immigrants are finding out that creating exceptions for illegals increases the costs on the law-abiding.

Time will tell if Obama’s amnesty program has a negative impact on the federal court system as well.

December 11th, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Now, 24 States Are Suing to Stop Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty

Nearly half of the States in America are now suing the Obama administration to stop the president’s unilateral and unconstitutional directive to grant temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Current Texas Attorney General and incoming Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced four new states joining the coalition he assembled that is seeking to have the federal courts halt a Department of Homeland Security directive that violates both the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The latest roster includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If this trend keeps up, it won’t take much longer for a majority of states to oppose what to all reasonable observers is an unprecedented power grab by this president.

Hopefully, the federal courts are listening.

December 5th, 2014 at 12:57 pm
Obama’s Immigration Amnesty Is NOT an Executive Order

My hat is off to Jerome Corsi at World Net Daily for confirming that President Barack Obama’s unilateral and unconstitutional immigration amnesty that affects up to five million illegal immigrants was not, in fact, given as part of an executive order.

Instead, what Obama signed in Las Vegas on November 21 – the day after he announced his intent to grant a temporary halt to some deportations and provide work permits – were documents much different.

“One was a presidential proclamation creating a White House Task Force on New Americans and the other a presidential memorandum instructing the secretaries of State and Homeland Security to consult with various governmental and non-governmental entities to reduce costs and improve service in issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas,” reports Corsi.

As Corsi explains, “the only Obama administration document relevant to the plan announced Nov. 20 is a DHS memorandum signed by [Homeland Security Secretary Jeh] Johnson titled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.”

Getting into the ramifications of this revelation probably merits its own column, but it should be mentioned here that the Texas-led, 17 state lawsuit challenging Obama’s immigration amnesty already knew about this legal technicality and focuses its fire on Secretary Johnson’s abuse of the notice-and-comment process required of any policy change. So far, Johnson’s memorandum implementing Obama’s amnesty has not appeared in the Federal Register, as required, and thus is in clear violation of the law.

Stay tuned. The games are likely just beginning.

December 4th, 2014 at 2:42 pm
Washington Post: Obama’s Immigration Amnesty “Unprecedented”

Add the editorial board of the Washington Post to the list of people who think President Barack Obama is setting a very troubling precedent with his decision to grant temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal aliens.

Key to the Post’s criticism is the revelation that part of the justification for Obama’s amnesty has been completely falsified. Since the president announced his executive order, he and members of his administration have said that the percentage of people who will benefit from his amnesty are similar to an amnesty granted by President George H. W. Bush. Specifically, Obama & Co. claim that Bush’s order benefited 1.5 million illegals, while Obama’s would benefit around 4 million. In both cases, the beneficiaries are estimated to be around 36 percent of all illegal aliens.

But according to Post reporter Glenn Kessler, that assertion cannot be verified. At best, the total number of Bush beneficiaries was no more than a couple hundred thousand – far less of a percentage than what Obama is targeting.

It gets worse. As the editorial board notes, “Even the apparent original source of the 1.5 million figure – Gene McNary, who led the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the time – told Mr. Kessler he believes the number is false and was based on a misunderstanding from testimony he gave to Congress. And no underlying data or methodology to justify the 1.5 million figure has been uncovered.” (Emphasis mine)

The facts don’t lie. What Obama is trying to do with his unilateral and unconstitutional immigration amnesty has no precedent in practice and no place in a country governed by the rule of law.

December 3rd, 2014 at 5:27 pm
Texas Launches 17-State Lawsuit Against Obama’s Immigration Amnesty

Hello, Greg Abbott!

In my column this week I mention that Abbott, the newly elected Republican Governor of Texas, would file a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s unilateral and unconstitutional order granting temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Alone, Texas’ lawsuit would have generated more attention than most challenges to federal action. But with the inclusion of sixteen other states, it’s sure to get a very serious look from the conservative-leaning federal Fifth Circuit.

According to My Way News, “The lawsuit raises three objections: that Obama violated the ‘Take Care Clause’ of the U.S. Constitution that limits the scope of presidential power; that the federal government violated rulemaking procedures; and that the order will ‘exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, which will affect increased state investment in law enforcement, health care and education.’”

If the lawsuit can overcome an important legal technicality – and former Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Robert Delahunty think it can – then this super-suit may, in time, serve as a Texas-sized roadblock to federal overreach.

December 2nd, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Senator Sessions Responds to Current Plan Being Floated in House Re: Obama’s Immigration Decree
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

The following statement was released earlier today by Senator Jeff Sessions in response to the current plan being floated in the House of Representatives in response to President Obama’s immigration decree.

“The Chairman of the Republican Party made a promise to America on executive amnesty: ‘We can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen… everything we can do to stop it we will.’

Unfortunately, the plan now being circulated in the House fails to meet that test. The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security, and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants—reducing wages, jobs, and benefits for Americans.

Congress considered and rejected these changes to immigration law in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014. The President’s action erases the laws Congress has passed in order to implement laws Congress has refused to pass.

Now the President demands Congress fund his imperial decree and declare its own irrelevance.

That is why Congress must respond to the President’s unlawful action by funding the government but not funding illegal amnesty. This is a perfectly sound and routine application of congressional authority. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that last year’s omnibus spending bill included 16 such funding restrictions on fee-based programs.

Such a plan would put the focus where it belongs: on Senate Democrats. They are the ones who should be made to choose sides—save Obama’s amnesty or save Americans’ jobs and borders.

Polling shows voters believe that Americans should get preference for available jobs by almost a 10-1 margin. Republicans should not be timid or apologetic, but mount a bold defense of struggling Americans.

Billions of dollars and countless hours have been spent advocating immigration policies that help everyone but the actual citizens of this country. Who will be their voice, if not us?” 

BACKGROUND:

Since taking office, President Obama has engaged in a sustained and calculated campaign to dismantle the immigration laws of the United States. As his own former ICE Director, John Sandweg, explained: “if you’re a run-of-the-mill immigrant living here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.” ICE officers report that their agency caters to special interests and open borders activists, while they are ordered to ignore their oaths and the laws of the United States.

Additionally, since the year 2000, the U.S. has issued nearly 30 million lawful visas for permanent immigrants or temporary guest workers. As reported by the Pew Research Center, the total number of immigrants in the U.S. has reached a record 41.3 million. The share of the U.S. population that was born in another country, per the Census Bureau, has quadrupled.

According to Harvard labor economist Dr. George Borjas, current high immigration rates result in a $402 billion annual wage loss for American workers.

November 25th, 2014 at 12:51 pm
Obama Won’t Extend Unilaterial Amnesty to Tax Reform

Sounds like no one prepped President Barack Obama for the obvious question posed by ABC’s George Stephanopolous: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants to lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”

After dithering a bit, Obama replied with, “The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks who are most likely to be cheating. We’re not going after millions and millions of people who everybody knows are here and were taking advantage of low wages as they’re mowing lawns or cleaning out bedpans, and looking the other way.”

Stephanopolous pressed harder. “So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?”

Without a hint of irony, Obama says, “With respect to taxes? Absolutely not.”

And yet the president has no reason in principle for limiting his successors in office from willfully disregarding whatever laws they don’t like. The former constitutional law professor seems to be completely unaware of the precedent he is setting by unilaterally suspending immigration enforcement. If left unrebuked, this action will teach future Oval Office occupants that the rule of law can – and at times should – be replaced with the whim of one.

The only saving grace in this interview is that the President of the United States seems genuinely clueless as to the logic of his own order. Such is the state of the chief executive.

H/T: Media Research Center

November 20th, 2014 at 8:19 pm
McCarthy on Amnesty: Obama Perverts Prosecutorial Discretion

Who better than a former federal prosecutor to judge whether President Barack Obama can unilaterally impose amnesty for illegal immigrants via “prosecutorial discretion”?

Andrew C. McCarthy, now a contributor at National Review, explains: “Prosecutorial discretion means you are not required to prosecute every crime”, but it “does not mean that those crimes the executive chooses not to enforce are now no longer crimes.”

Yet that’s just what President Obama is proposing.

“He is claiming not only the power to determine what immigration laws get enforced and which illegal immigrants get prosecuted – power he unquestionably has,” writes McCarthy. The president, “also claims the power to declare (a) that criminal acts are somehow lawful – that illegal aliens now have a right to be here – just because Obama has chosen not to prosecute them; and (b) that those who engage in this unprosecuted activity will be rewarded with benefits (lawful presence, relief from deportation, work permits, etc.), as if their illegal acts were valuable community service.”

In other words, Obama’s amnesty perverts prosecutorial discretion beyond recognition.

Next up: Consequences?

November 20th, 2014 at 10:50 am
In His Own Words: Obama Calls Executive Action on Immigration “Illegal” – 25 Times!

There has been no shortage of commentary in recent weeks and months addressing the illegality of President Obama’s planned executive action on immigration.  Even Obama himself, despite his plans to announce a sweeping new executive order on immigration tonight on prime-time television, has argued that circumventing Congress and acting unilaterally would be illegal.

In fact, Fox News’ “The Kelly File” dug up some 25 instances in which Obama said so on camera over the last several years. 

Watch the video here.

November 19th, 2014 at 7:52 pm
Obama Readies Immigration Announcement

Thursday, November 20, 2014, could be a day of infamy if President Barack Obama follows through on indications he will act on his own to give some form of legal status to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Some conservatives say liberals can’t defend Obama’s lawless action, but there is no consensus among the former on what to do if the president intentionally violates his duty to faithfully execute the law.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) calls on his fellow Republicans not to “confirm a single nominee – executive or judicial – outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.”

Charles Cooke of National Review cautions against adopting The Obama Rule – picking and choosing which law a president will enforce – when the GOP next controls the White House. Among other things, doing so would forever obliterate the Republican claim to defend the Constitution and the principles it preserves.

Of course, all of this could be avoided if a certain former constitutional law professor would step back from the precipice. A little self-restraint would go a long way toward reestablishing appropriate boundaries on what the most powerful man in the world can, and cannot, do.

If so, then tomorrow won’t go down as the day The Obama Rule officially replaced the Rule of Law.

September 1st, 2014 at 6:54 pm
Marco Rubio Evolving on Immigration

If at first you don’t succeed, pivot to the next best alternative.

That seems to be the strategy used by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as he positions himself for a potential White House run in 2016.

Rubio, once the darling of conservatives and a top GOP presidential contender, quickly fell out of favor with the grassroots when he supported a version of comprehensive immigration reform championed by the Obama administration and some of the most liberal members of Congress.

After the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill was pronounced dead-on-arrival in the House of Representatives, Rubio has since modified his position on how to pursue immigration reform. Unsurprisingly, it now aligns with what conservatives have said all along: secure the border first, build trust in the federal government’s commitment to the rule of law and national sovereignty, and only then discuss how to integrate illegal immigrants into American society.

Last week, Rubio sent a letter to President Barack Obama warning against a unilateral executive action that would grant some kind of legal status to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. In Rubio’s words, such an act “will increase the perception of ambiguity in our laws, incentivize more people to immigrate here illegally, and significantly set back the prospects of real reform.”

It’s too early to tell whether Rubio’s repositioning will be enough to convince conservatives that he’s changed his principles instead of just his tactics. Until he can give a convincing explanation of why next time will be different, skepticism about his true beliefs will remain.

August 25th, 2014 at 7:06 pm
Pro-Amnesty Congressman: ‘Get Ready’ for Obama Executive Order

One of Congress’ biggest amnesty boosters is telling allies to “get ready” for a presidential announcement that could shield as many as 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), an amnesty supporter who called on fellow Hispanics to “sign up to vote and punish those who speak ill and criminalize children who come to our border,” expects to hear very soon that President Barack Obama will issue an executive order to effectively legalize half of the United States’ illegal immigrant population.

“It’s music to my ears that someone would have a source at the White House that say it’s 5 million,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC today. “Let me just say, tomorrow, the next day, and all of this week we’re getting ready.”

By “getting ready,” Gutierrez means preparing to process 5 million quasi-legal residents into semi-permanent status. The problem is, Gutierrez has no idea what those structures will look like – or how they’ll be funded – because Congress has refused to pass any type of immigration reform that includes amnesty or anything like it.

Perhaps President Obama will opt for the complex “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status outlined in the Senate Gang of Eight bill that died in the House of Representatives. After all, Gutierrez and other amnesty supporters have “urged Obama to legalize all of the illegal immigrants that would have qualified under the Senate’s amnesty bill,” reports Breitbart News. If Obama can achieve the same policy goal as Congress, why can’t he do it using the same policy means?

Besides, just because the legislative branch won’t pass a law doesn’t prohibit the executive from doing whatever he wants, right?

Today, Gutierrez may be gleeful at the prospect of Obama violating the Constitution to benefit his pet issue, but he should remember: Once you brush aside the separation-of-powers, there’s no check on tyranny. Tomorrow, you lose.

August 7th, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Would President Romney Be Allowed to Disregard the Law?

Robert Delahunty, a former Department of Justice attorney, poses an interesting counterfactual to those defending President Barack Obama’s possible legalization of 5 million illegal immigrants.

“One has to wonder how those who consider such non-enforcement to be constitutional would react if a President Mitt Romney announced that his Internal Revenue Service would simply stop collecting capital gains tax on the rich, or that his Environmental Protection Agency would no longer seek to impose legal penalties on polluters,” writes Delahunty.

Delahunty’s thought experiment is worth elaborating. If it’s true that presidents can assume lawmaking powers when Congress refuses to implement his will – a point I’m only granting for the sake of argument; Articles I and II of the Constitution clearly foreclose this possibility – then it stands to reason that any Republican running for president in 2016 can simply campaign on a promise not to enforce any law he does not like. Why worry with winning control of Congress? All any political party needs to do is win one race – the presidency – and the entire executive branch can be put in the service of the party’s platform.

It’s an outcome so at odds with our constitutional system that in saner days it would have been ruled out as a serious option as soon as it was floated. But we are in transformative times. Future presidents and their would-be advisors are taking notes. If President Obama is allowed to get away with such a regime-shattering power grab – and unilaterally importing 5 million new citizens would be just that – then there is very little reason to justify limits on even bigger abuses hereafter.