As many others have noted, the high point here is Rand Paul bailing out mid-bite as soon as he hears the word “DREAM.” He’ll get in your face on foreign policy and he’ll push bold, controversial ideas like restoring voting rights to felons, but put him on camera in the middle of a squabble between Steve “Cantaloupe Calves” King and a pair of illegals when he’s gearing up for 2016 and all that’s left is one of those little dust clouds like in a Roadrunner cartoon.
If not for that, my favorite moment would be Erika Andiola reassuring King that DACA is constitutional because her companion’s an attorney and he thinks it is. Back in reality, Conn Carroll notes correctly that the fact that Andiola has a “DACA card” at all is proof that what Obama’s been up to isn’t executive business as usual:
In the past, presidents have granted Deferred Action status to small groups of immigrants for humanitarian and foreign policy reasons (President Bush granted such status to foreign students affected by Hurricane Katrina).
But never before had a president granted such broad based relief to the general illegal immigrant population, created a special form for them to apply, and required a set application fee to receive Deferred Action benefits.
Obama’s DACA program changed all that. Instead of just prioritizing otherwise law biding illegal immigrants, like Andiola, at the bottom of the immigration enforcement list, Obama gifted them a legal status and work permits (and is even forcing states to issue them drivers licenses). This is a night and day change from “what his predecessors have done (or rather, not done)” on the issue.
And now we’re on the verge of expanding that treatment to five million more people. What you’re seeing here, actually, is a microcosm of the national immigration debate. King opposes amnesty through whatever means but is especially exercised about Obama’s DACA power grab. Andiola and her friend, while willing to argue the legal merits half-heartedly, are clearly following a “let’s do what’s ‘right’ and worry about what’s constitutional later” approach. And of course reporters are on alert for anything King says that can be used as a cudgel against him and the GOP, with underwhelming results this time out. Maybe they’ll have better luck after Obama announces DACA II and Republicans get really mad.