While working on another post (on a related subject), I held my nose and nipped on over to the President’s website for his own words on the “executive action” on illegal aliens.
There, under the heading Share the Facts is an infographic much like this one:
Okay, it’s all BS, I know, but one particular bit of it smells a little riper than the others:
Crack Down on Employers That Hire Undocumented Workers
That sounds familiar. That sounds like E-Verify:
E-Verify is an electronic program through which employers verify the employment eligibility of their employees after hire. The program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). In short, employers submit information taken from a new hire’s Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) through E-Verify to the Social Security Administration and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine whether the information matches government records and whether the new hire is authorized to work in the United States.
E-Verify is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, Verification Division, and the Social Security Administration.
It’s currently voluntary, except for federal contractors and certain states that require it. There are several drawbacks to the program (bad data leading to incorrect designations, costs to employer), but it would appear we’ve had in our hands since 1996 at least one method to discourage illegal aliens from being here.
In the infographic at the site, Obama put the “cracking down” on a list he says Congress still needs to do. It says nothing about E-Verify. Indeed, he didn’t even mention “cracking down” (or anything similar) in the tiresome speech that decreed the sweeping change in the law.
So, the president intends (or says he intends) to see to it that no illegal alien can hold a job in America—yet they can stay. Huh? Doesn’t that mean he just increased the welfare rolls by five million?
Or is he picking winners and losers again, like for Solyndra and against coal? The millions who have already broken the law can stay, they can work, they can crowd our emergency rooms. But not one more!
But who knows what he means because, as far as I can tell, he didn’t write anything down. He just talked. Obama has now been distilled to his essence: his word is now law.
Or is it?
Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do. But most executive actions carry no legal weight. Those that do actually set policy can be invalidated by the courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.
The terms executive action and executive order are not interchangeable. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register, though they also can be reversed by the courts and Congress.
A good way to think of executive actions is a wish list of policies the president would like to see enacted.
Presidents favor the use of nonbinding executive actions when the issue is controversial or sensitive. For example, Obama carefully weighed his use of executive actions on gun violence and decided against issuing legal mandates via executive orders, which would have gone against the legislative intent of Congress and risked enraging lawmakers of both parties.
Obama was the first modern president to use executive actions in lieu of executive orders or executive memoranda.
But even the Obama White House acknowledged that most of the executive actions carried no legal weight. Here’s what the administration said at the time the 23 executive actions were proposed:
“While President Obama will sign 23 Executive Actions [on gun control] today that will help keep our kids safe, he was clear that he cannot and should not act alone: The most important changes depend on Congressional action.”
He used to say that about illegal immigration too. By Obama’s own reasoning, his diktat on illegal aliens is merely a wish—a hope, if you will. It is not a law (which is Congress’s job); it is not an order (a legal document, published and legally binding); it is a pipe dream.
Yet everyone pretends it has the authority of law.
This…chimera…has two fundamental elements. One, Obama will no longer enforce a law passed by Congress and signed by an earlier president. Two, Obama will give illegal aliens things they have no right to have, and he has no right to give them.
Because he says so.
It’s a hell of a way to run a country.
PS: Kind of funny for Obama to demand Congress pass a law. He ignores laws. Anyway, most Democrats and even a few Republicans (the Chamber of Commerce set) don’t want the changes he calls for anyway.