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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Obama Leaves Open Door to "Plan B"

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It's tricky for the President to tip his hand too much on what he would do if Congress failed to pass an immigration reform bill. Would he use his administrative powers to grant some kind of status to the millions of people who would otherwise have benefited from a legalization program? Perhaps TPS for all Mexicans based on the drug violence in that country? Or a DACA-style solution that allows work and travel and nothing more?

President Obama was asked about this during an interview with Univision:

OBAMA: "Probably not. I think that it is very important for us to recognize that the way to solve this problem has to be legislative. I can do some things and have done some things that make a difference in the lives of people by determining how our enforcement should focus. Right now we're focused much more on criminals. We're focused much more on those who have endangered people or communities. And we've been able to provide help through deferred action for young people and students the DREAMers who I've had a chance to meet with. And they're just incredible young people and great assets to the United States. But this is a problem that needs to be fixed legislatively. So I'm not going to speculate on the House bill failing. I'm going to make sure that I do everything I can to help it succeed."

This is not exactly shutting the door on a Plan B option. In fact, the language is more flexible than he was just a couple of years ago regarding suggestions for a DACA-style solution. And an NPR story from earlier today suggests that legal experts are telling the President he's got the power to do something like this if he so chooses.

Perhaps those opposing an immigration reform bill should pay heed. Killing the bill doesn't necessarily mean you can completely tie the President's hands. He still has a lot of power.

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  1. Jack2's Avatar
    "Perhaps those opposing an immigration reform bill should pay heed."

    Perhaps the president should pay heed to the Founding Fathers and finally recognize the separation of powers doctrine of the Constitution.

    "the language is more flexible than he was just a couple of years ago regarding suggestions for a DACA-style solution."

    I'll say. Back then he said that he had NO flexibility:

    "I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We are doing everything we can administratively. But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there's been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It's just not true."

    And this:

    "Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own," Obama told members of a National Council of La Raza conference who shouted back, "Yes, you can! Yes, you can!"
    "That's not how our democracy functions," Obama responded. "That's not how our Constitution is written."

    He also said:

    "Well, the truth of the matter is that we have exercised as much administrative discretion as we can."


    "PROBABLY not" implies that there is a possibility. No one should be surprised at anything this guy does given his track record of ignoring law. And Republicans are paying heed: They are asking themselves, "Why pass anything when he is just going to ignore parts he doesn't like anyway?"
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