By Joe Guzzardi
December 3, 2014
On December 2, the very day that the federal government’s deficit passed $18 billion, two Columbia University graduates, President Barack Obama and Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson took big steps forward toward eventually adding another $2 billion to the total. More than 70 percent of the deficit has accumulated since Obama took office.
Obama, Columbia University class of 1983 with an economics degree, and Johnson, Columbia Law School, 1982, are the two leading figures in the congressional showdown over the president’s executive action that will remove 5 million aliens from deportation. Additionally, the action will reward the immigrants with social security cards, work permits and government-issued photo IDs. Immigration analysts peg the cost of Obama’s package over the immigrants’ lives at $2 trillion.
When Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta asked how adding 5 million previously unemployable illegal immigrants helps 18 million Americans who can’t find a full time job, Johnson’s assessment is that the aliens presence in the labor market won’t “impinge” on the U.S. unemployed. “I don’t think I see it [American job displacement] that way.” Johnson did say, however, that Obama’s plan would bring illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.”
Johnson, testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, cited his Columbia law degree and insisted that he’s “satisfied as a lawyer” that Obama is operating within the Constitution’s framework.
But Constitutional scholars disagree. First, Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, was queried about Obama’s 22 times-repeated comments that he doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally change immigration law juxtaposed against the president’s recent admission that he had indeed changed it. Sekulow opined that Obama knows he needs congressional approval, but proceeded by fiat anyway. Furthermore, Sekulow argued that Obama has violated controlling precedent and clear instructions from his own attorneys at the Office of Legal Counsel who advised him not to act independently.
Second, Chapman University professor Ronald Rotuna commented that issuing social security cards to 5 million illegal immigrants “Far exceeds prosecutorial discretion.”
Third, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a former immigration lawyer, called Obama’s executive amnesty one of the “largest unconstitutional power grabs ever” and has no authority either in the Constitution or in any existing lawful statue.
Obama and Johnson’s disregard for working Americans comes at a horrible time. While the federal government has no intention to rein in its spending, the middle class is being squeezed out of existence. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that since 2007, incomes have risen less than 1 percent, but the cost of living has soared. Among the increases is health insurance, up 42 percent; housing, up 26 percent health care, and health care, up 24 percent.
Johnson offered no defense of his position, legal or otherwise. At the beginning of his testimony, Johnson said that he and Obama had consulted extensively. Both agreed among themselves that Obama could bypass Congress. Two men, acting in concert, have rewritten immigration law and trampled citizens’ rights to a government that faithfully executes the laws.
My take away from Homeland Security hearing: Obama will do as he pleases. Whether it’s his multiple and imperial changes to Obamacare which analysts say total 24 or his immigration actions, Obama has chosen to go his own way, punishing voters for their November rejection of his policies. By so doing, Obama has adopted totalitarianism government and has abandoned democracy.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]