The calls started shortly after President Obama’s news conference on the day after the midterm elections. He had said he would go ahead with action on immigration before year’s end, in spite of warnings from Republicans that he could wreck relations with the new Congress they will control. White House officials were calling immigrant advocates to talk strategy and shore up their support…
The White House calls — and the president’s decision itself — reflected the clout the immigrant movement has built up in recent years, as it grew from a cluster of scattered Washington lobbying groups into a national force.
A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the last decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants…
“The whole apparatus has become the handmaiden of the Democratic Party,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which opposes legalization for undocumented immigrants. “These foundations fund activist organizations designed to create ethnic identity enclaves and politically control them for partisan purposes.”
David Axelrod, a former Obama adviser, said Thursday at the Journal forum that Mr. Obama should go it alone because Congress has shown it isn’t willing to act. “It’s been five years, and at some point you have to say, we have to move forward, and I think he will move forward,” he said. “The president honestly does want to solve problems. Immigration reform is a problem that’s been lingering for a very, very long time.”
Democratic pollster Peter Hart, however, agreed with GOP leaders that the move could have ramifications for Mr. Obama’s relationship with the new Republican Congress. “If that’s going to be the opening gambit, it’s going to be a divisive year,” Mr. Hart said. “What it does for the optics and what it sets up for the next two years I think is going to be very challenging.”
The timing of the White House move is still under discussion, White House officials said. One strategy is to wait until Congress has cleared a spending bill needed to keep the government operating after Dec. 11. That could forestall the spending bill getting gummed up by the immigration dispute. Senate Democrats have requested that the president wait for that reason.
Morale among officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, already low, has reached a new bottom as illegal immigrants expecting amnesty from President Obama taunt and ridicule the overworked officers, according to a new report.
“Yes,” said one, “working for this agency is hell right now.”…
Vaughan told Secrets that she has been concerned about morale in ICE and raised the issue with Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson…
“Some have told me that illegal alien criminals they have arrested have even taunted them, saying they know the ICE officers can’t do anything to them because of Obama administration policies,” Vaughan told Secrets.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is considering expanding a proposed federal lawsuit over President Obama’s executive orders to include action on immigration. Filing a separate lawsuit over the president’s authority to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation is another option that gained traction Thursday during talks among party leaders.
The idea to use the courts as an initial means of dissent, should the president move forward in the coming weeks to protect millions from deportation, moved to the front of the House GOP’s playbook after the leadership reviewed it. Boehner reportedly wants to respond forcefully and quickly should the president act and believes a lawsuit would do that, as well as signal to conservatives in his conference that he shares their frustrations about the president’s use of executive power.
Several Republicans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid confirmed Boehner’s outlook and the thrust of the leadership’s discussions. They cautioned that any final decision by House Republicans will be made only after consulting rank-and-file members in the wake of a White House announcement — if the president decides to issue executive orders on immigration.
Congressional Republicans have split into competing factions over how to respond to President Obama’s expected moves to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, which are likely to include protecting millions from being deported…
“It’s a big test for the leadership. We cannot listen to the loudest, shrillest voices in our party,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican who represents the Philadelphia exurbs. “At some point we have to fund the government, and we should not fight to attach some demand. I don’t want to stand by and watch as our party gets driven into a ditch.”…
A group of centrist Republicans told Boehner and his leadership team at a conference meeting Thursday that they must avoid another fiscal impasse and that this is the moment to take on the more extreme elements in their party. They argued that unless Boehner confronts Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and other conservatives pushing for a hard-line response, he risks seeing his conference unravel, much as it did last year during the 16-day shutdown that was cheered by the tea party…
“Government shutdowns aren’t a way to solve problems,” Cole said in an interview. “It would only inflame the situation. What I say is: ‘Did it stop Obamacare? No, it did not.’ That’s unfortunate, but it’s not the weapon we should use.”
How to fight him? Begin with the lame-duck session of Congress. The GOP cannot allow Harry Reid to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government through the rest of the fiscal year, thereby depriving Republicans of the opportunity to address executive amnesty using its departmental budgets.
“Using the normal appropriations process, with bills the House has already drafted,” write the editors of National Review, the Republican Congress “can attach riders regarding, say, prosecution of illegal immigrants to Homeland Security funding, or power-plant regulations to EPA funding.”
Such riders are the best weapons Republicans have to delay and undermine harmful and constitutionally dubious policies such as executive amnesty. To unilaterally disarm would be worse than stupid. It would be a betrayal.
Congressional Republicans said Friday they are considering a series of showdowns over funding the government if President Obama goes ahead with his expected plans to unilaterally overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
Instead of passing a spending bill in coming days that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, they are now mulling a short-term measure that expires early next year, according to more than a dozen top lawmakers and their aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
When Congress reconvenes in the new year, Republicans would then pass other short-term bills, each designed to create a forum to push back against the president and, possibly, to gain concessions.
An ambitious executive order by Obama on immigration would result in an even greater ideological storm. Nearly all Republicans would have deep legal and procedural objections. Many would be convinced that Obama is playing a ruthless form of politics with serious constitutional matters. Some, surely and sadly, would be driven into discrediting fits of anti-immigrant rage. (If this reaction figures anywhere in Obama’s calculation as a political upside, it would be a particularly sickening form of cynicism.)…
This is not the Civil War. Obama’s recourse to an executive order would be a form of confession that he could not make the legislative process work on one of the most important policy matters facing our nation. But another president might…
After a series of national elections that empowered two parties on an ideological collision course, Americans are about to be treated to a magnified version of everything they hate: overreach, backlash, deadlock, threats and lasting bitterness. It is like a Shakespearean drama — without the interesting characters and quality dialogue. Everyone seems driven by his or her own angels and demons toward predictable tragedy. Something senseless this way comes.
I am, as I have noted here on several occasions, an immigration squish. I have supported several immigration bills that have come through Congress recently which were, I think, unfairly demonized and defeated. My personal preference would be for Congress to pass a bill that many conservatives would doubtless oppose. But at the same time, I recognize that our form of government cannot long survive the usurpation that Barack Obama is proposing to implement. It simply cannot be that the President is allowed to declare that he dislikes a law on the books, and if Congress does not meet a deadline he himself has imposed to change it, he will enforce a completely different law of his own making.
That is not the way interaction between a President and a Congress works; rather, it is the way interaction between a king and his purely ceremonial parliament works.
Regardless of how the individual members of Congress feel about the particulars of the immigration issue, they MUST take drastic measures, if necessary, to prevent this precedent from being set. If anyone in Congress of either party doesn’t relish having any law they pass being casually brushed aside by a lame duck President with a chip on his shoulder, they must support whatever action is necessary to prevent Obama from carrying out this policy via executive order. And if Congress doesn’t want this President, in particular, to run the show at his own whim for the next two years, he must be stopped now, before he learns that Congress will flinch every time he plays chicken with them.
Throughout the Obama administration, liberals have been driven mad by the following narrative: Republicans block Obama’s policies, and then Obama gets tagged as being ineffective and uncooperative, and so it just encourages more lock-step opposition. In other words, in six years of trying, liberals have not been able to convince the general public that they should stop rewarding Republicans for being intransigent. So what makes liberals think they’ll win this argument now?
If and when Obama acts unilaterally, Republicans will be united in pushing the message that Obama sabotaged any effort at bipartisan compromise, and it’s quite possible that this view will carry the day. The public may not suddenly love Republicans, but they may still believe that Obama should do a better job of working with Congress rather than acting unilaterally.
One rationale behind executive action is that it would force Congress’s hand, but it’s more likely to let them off of the hook. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., won’t be as torn between the two wings of the party. Opponents of creating a legal pathway for those in the country illegally will be pleased if comprehensive immigration legislation is dead in Congress, and Republicans can argue to supporters of comprehensive reform that Obama “poisoned the well” and made any compromise impossible.
Via the Corner.
Via the Free Beacon.