Where is harm in Obama’s executive order?

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I had to hear the President.  I had a conference call for 7 p.m., Thursday, the very time the President was scheduled to speak. I had to hear the President so I had the conference call moved up to 6 p.m. I just had to hear the President.

The President was going to reveal his executive orders on immigration reform. I had spoken about immigration many times. I had written about immigration a number of times. I had struggled against bad immigration bills in the Alabama Legislature. I had worked with others trying to persuade Congress to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. Immigration was a very important issue for me. I had to hear the President.

There was so much hot heat in public discussion. There was so much fiery fire in political pronouncements. Some were talking about putting the President in jail. Others were talking about impeachment.  Still others were threatening violence in the street. Some congresspersons were threatening to shut down the federal government or immobilize the legislative process. I had to hear the President.

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Some said the President’s executive order(s) were illegal. Some said the executive orders were unconstitutional. Some said the President was acting like an emperor issuing legislative edicts. Some said the President was changing legislation that only Congress could change. Some said the President was running rogue. But none had seen the executive orders. I had to see and hear the President.

It was a speech from the Oval Office. The networks usually carry such speeches live. However, the networks announced that they would not carry this speech live. Only those who had cable or satellite with MSNBC, CNN, etc. could see and hear the speech live. What was it about this speech that the networks would not carry live? I had to see and hear the President.

The President stood before the television cameras.  It seemed like the same spot where he stood when he announced the death of Bin Laden several years ago. The President seemed tired around the eyes, but his voice was strong and grew even stronger as the speech went along. In the end, he was waxing beautifully about family and hope and work and strangers and a nation of immigrants. I was glad that I was seeing and hearing the President speak directly about his immigration reform actions.

Here is what the executive orders does: (1) undocumented persons who have been in the United States for at least five years, have certain family relationships and have no criminal history will not be deported; (2) this deferral is temporary, lasting for three years; (3) the deportation deferral will not convey citizenship rights such as voting or access to certain governmental benefits; (4) the money saved from reduced deportation efforts will be used to strengthen border security; (5) these immigrants can now come out of the shadow,  get green cards to work and pay the taxes; and (6) there is no amnesty.  It is estimated that some five million undocumented immigrants will benefit from this action. Yes, that is the substance of the executive orders(s). I was glad I saw and heard the President for myself.

As I listened, I kept asking over and over: Where is the illegality? Where is the unconstitutionality?  Where is the basis for jail? Where is the basis for impeachment? Where is the basis for the fiery fire and hot heat? Where is the basis for violence in the streets? I was glad that I had seen and heard the President for myself.

It is well documented in some 39 immigration-related executive orders, former presidents have done what President Obama did. In fact, Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush each used executive orders to implement immigration reform in similar fashions. Reagan went much farther than President Obama, granting amnesty to 1.3 million undocumented immigrants. There was no hot heat or fiery fire. There certainly were no threats of jail or impeachment. There were no slurs claiming an “imperial presidency.” I cannot forget that the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order. I am glad that I had seen and heard the President for myself.

Some congresspersons are now saying they will not work with the President on any other matters.  I do not see where they worked with him prior to these executive orders. I cannot forget that while this President was being sworn into office during his first inauguration, a group of powerful Republicans were meeting at the very same time devising plans to oppose everything he tried to do to ensure there were no successes regardless of how much it hurt the country.  If they don’t work with the President now, it is not about helping the country but about stopping him from succeeding.

Congress has had six years during President Obama’s time in office to enact legislation. They have not passed immigration reform. The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill more than 500 days ago, and the House never even considered it. Now that Republicans control both branches of Congress, they can pass legislation nullifying the actions of the President. One would hope they will make the substance of the President’s executive orders permanent, with paths to citizenship. The President has acted. Now Congress can act.

We see, hear and perceive through our eyes, ears and other senses but also through our hopes and fears, needs and greeds, loves and hates, likes and dislikes.

I see fairness and justice in the President’s executive order(s).

Others see danger and destruction in the same executive orders. I only ask for proof of that danger and destruction.