Using Executive Orders to Implement Amnesty
We need to start contacting our congressmen today to prepare them to push back against any push by the Obama Administration to evade Congress in implementing Amnesty.
Some background information on Executive Orders shared with me by Rep. Ted Poe’s office–thank you, Janet!
What an Executive Order Is:
Generally speaking, an Executive Order is issued by the President and directs an agency of the Federal Government to take a particular action. Although there is no Constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits Executive Orders, there is a grant of “executive power” under Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution. Historically, Executive Orders typically direct a branch of the Federal Government to take an immediate action that for whatever reason cannot quickly be passed through Congress or by which the President feels is within his authority to do without Congressional action.
Some past examples of Executive Orders were the Executive Order issued by President Truman which desegregated the U.S. Armed Forces and the Executive Order passed by President Roosevelt that allowed the detention of American’s of Japanese decent during WWII.
What We Could Do:
If President Obama were to use and Executive order, or some other Administrative procedure, to make a drastic change in US immigration law like granting amnesty, it would be an unprecedented use of executive power. This would be a drastic change to U.S. law, and most would agree that such a change would need to go through the US Congress. In 1986, the last time large scale amnesty was granted to illegal immigrants, the legislation authorizing this passed through Congress.
There have been some indications that the Administration could be considering an attempt to grant some sort of limited amnesty by Executive Order. If this turns out to be true, there are ways for Congress to respond:
- Congress can pass legislation that conflicts with the Executive Order and overturn it.
- Congress can defund the implementation of the order. Both responses will certainly be considered should the Administration move forward.
- An Executive Order such as this would likely be challenged in court and ultimately the Supreme Court would decide whether or not it was a Constitutional exercise of Presidential power.