Pascrell’s Amnesty History is Off-Base

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Can we get something straight, Save Jerseyans?

Ronald Reagan did NOT do in 1987 what Barack Obama did on Thursday night. That’s just not true, and it will never be true no matter how many times the Democrats and the media (including this host, misstating history during a joint appearance featuring New Jersey’s own Bill Pascrell – see below from a Friday CNBC appearance) repeat the lie:

Rep. Mulvaney nailed it. Rep. Pascrell noted the big different between then and now, too, but glosses over it.

Others are straight up lying. “In fact, it was the sweeping action of President Reagan and George H.W. Bush that deferred the deportations of up to 1.5 million undocumented spouses and children — 40 percent of America’s undocumented population — at the time,” U.S. Senator and renowned Caribbean tourist Bob Menendez said in the aftermath of POTUS’s announcement. “And now President Obama is using his legal executive authority, as they did, to grant deportation relief to millions of families who have been living in fear and in the shadows.”

Wrong. Misleading. And more than a little obnoxious.

Even FactCheck.org, operated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, is calling out Obama and his crew for pretending there’s no difference between then and now:

“The actions taken by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — examples often cited by White House officials — were attempts to address ambiguities in an immigration law that was passed by Congress. Obama’s executive actions are different. They are a response to congressional failure to pass a law, and they affect a far greater number of immigrants currently living in the country illegally.”

obama and reaganI take issue with the use of the word “failure” since passing and adopting legislation for the sake of passing and adopting legislation isn’t the designed purpose of our checks-and-balances system. It’s also historically inaccurate; consider the 300+ bills that died on Harry Reid’s desk over past three years, passed by the GOP-controlled U.S. House, that never got a hearing in the Democrat Senate.

Did the Republican Party fail to completely surrender to a Democrat President and Senate Majority Leader who refused to negotiate with them in bad faith? You bet! And thank God for it. But that’s all a matter of ideological perspective, right?

Even still, UPenn is hardly a conservative think tank and they get the difference between enforcing legislation and creating law. Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett was even more specific:

“In past decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has cautioned the executive branch that its prosecutorial discretion, while broad, is not “unfettered.” It is subject to restrictions. The doctrine may not be used to adopt a sweeping policy of non-enforcement of the law. It applies only to decisions not to prosecute or expelspecific individuals or small groups of people, typically for exigent reasons like war, civil unrest or political persecution.

By contrast, President Obama is bestowing a wholesale, blanket amnesty for an entire class of nearly 5 million people. He is doing so not for the reasons allowed by law, but for purposes that appear to be purely political. This is a flagrant abuse of prosecutorial discretion. His expansive action exceeds his authority in ways that none of his predecessors ever envisioned. And it is a radical departure from any of the executive orders issued by previous presidents.

It is true that President Ronald Reagan utilized executive action in 1987 to grant a limited deportation reprieve to certain spouses and young children of immigrants. But his order was a logical and direct extension of, not a departure from, an existing amnesty law Congress had already passed. His exemption and a subsequent extension by his successor, President George H. W. Bush, were later incorporated into a new law passed by Congress. The point is instructive. The actions by Reagan and Bush are not a supporting precedent for Mr. Obama, but an important limiting principle of presidential authority.

However, President Obama has commandeered this elastic doctrine of prosecutorial discretion and stretched or manipulated it beyond all recognition and reason. It has become his political Gumby toy with which he exerts his will whenever he fails to get his way with Congress. He contorts the word “discretion” to adopt a capacious policy — his own policy — to ban full enforcement of a duly enacted immigration statute. He treats the doctrine as a magical incantation shielding his arbitrariness.”

I don’t care where you come down on the substance of the amnesty issue, folks. That’s a debate for another day. What you CANNOT debate is the objective truth of the awful, undemocratic and yes, Rep. Pascrell, unprecedented character of Barack Obama’s executive amnesty power play.

 

3 thoughts on “Pascrell’s Amnesty History is Off-Base

  1. @Theodore If you want to get theological about it, immigration policy isn’t exactly a “definitive” teaching… like opposition to abortion.

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