This past week labor unions and pro-open borders groups took to the streets in several states, including Nevada, to criticize, shout slogans and mock the 26 state attorneys general, including Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who have challenged President Obama’s executive fiat blocking deportation of millions of illegal immigrants.
In February a federal judge in Texas granted the states’ request for an injunction to stop Obama from carrying out his executive order, which he dubbed DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). It would have granted legal residency, green cards and Social Security cards to the parents of children brought into the country illegally. A previous executive order gave those children legal status under something called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Protesters at the Las Vegas rally unfurled a banner reading “Laxalt destroys families.” We don’t think Laxalt enticed any of those families to come into the country illegally and risk having family members lawfully deported.
Some sort of immigration reform is probably needed and likely inevitable, but it still should be done in the right way, through legislation, not by the president scratching through existing law with the stroke of his pen.
Laxalt said at the time he joined the litigation in January, “Our immigration system is broken and clearly needs to be fixed. But just as clearly, the solution is not for the president to act unilaterally disregarding the U.S. Constitution and laws. The solution must be a permanent, legal result that includes, not ignores, the other branches of government and their constitutional roles. Anything less is a false hope undermining the rule of law that injures millions of people in America, including many in Nevada.”
The federal lawsuit points out that the DREAM Act that would have allowed children brought here illegally to stay legally was introduced in March 2009. After that Obama said on at least eight occasions he could not himself impose such amnesty. “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. …” he said. “I can’t just make the laws up by myself.”
In June 2012, he announced the DACA.
In November, Obama announced DAPA, candidly admitting, “I just took an action to change the law,” even though his own Justice Department advised “the proposed deferred action program for parents of DACA recipients would not be permissible.”
“Many families come to this country seeking a better life,” a Las Vegas protester was quoted as saying. “We believe that we deserve a voice. And we’re going to make it heard.”
An AFL-CIO press release quotes an immigrant as saying, “It’s clear now, we can no longer wait for justice from the courts and instead we must turn to each other as we organize ourselves on the job and in our communities to continue this fight for our rights.”
There are many families on long waiting lists trying to enter the country legally instead of simply declaring it is their right to come here, no matter what the law says.
In his injunction, federal Judge Andrew Hanen stated, “The DAPA Directive unilaterally allows individuals removable by law to legally remain in the United States based upon a classification that is not established by any federal law.”
The day after the Texas judge’s injunction was issued, Laxalt commented, “Yesterday’s carefully considered, 123-page decision represents a great initial victory for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I am encouraged by the federal court’s thorough analysis of this executive action. This injunction will halt the executive action and allow for the judiciary to carefully evaluate the legality of President Obama’s unilateral act. As I’ve always insisted, this lawsuit is ultimately about the rule of law, not immigration, and the need for all branches of our government, including the president, to faithfully follow the law.”
First, the illegal immigrants ignored the law. Now they want to ignore the Constitution. Whatever gets them what they want.
Granting amnesty may well be the right thing to do, as Obama likes to say, but this is the wrong way to do it.
A version of this editorial appears this past week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel, Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.