Capitol Report: Executive Amnesty Outside President's Authority

Nov 14, 2014

Well, it has happened again. President Obama is threatening to use his self-imposed executive authority to take sweeping action the majority of Americans oppose. This time he is talking about granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.

Congress is back in Washington for the end of this session and hard at work, but instead of working with the House and Senate to find solutions on immigration, President Obama has been telling the media he is considering acting solo. In an exit poll from the November 4th election, The Polling Company, Inc. found that 74 percent of voters want President Obama to work with Congress to fix immigration rather than take action on his own. He must not have gotten the memo.

In addition to the idea being deeply unpopular, President Obama does not have the legal authority to take this action. The President said himself that amnesty by executive order would not be appropriate. On March 28, 2011, President Obama said he would not use an executive order for amnesty explaining that the “temporary protective status historically has been used for special circumstances.” Now that Republicans will have majorities in both the House and Senate come January, it seems the President is singing a different tune.

How many people would this executive amnesty affect? In short, we do not know. Estimates of the illegal aliens in United States vary wildly from 10 to 20 million, with more coming across the border each day. After the influx of unaccompanied children across the southern border this summer, this offer of amnesty will serve as even more incentive for others to bypass the official immigration process and trek to America.

If President Obama acts on his own, it will poison the well and make it nearly impossible for Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform. He should not use executive amnesty as an opportunity to stay relevant after November’s drubbing.