Constitutional Scholar Rob Natelson On President Obama’s Immigration Action [YouTube]
Rob Natelson said on Friday, that President Obama's executive action on immigration essentially placed a very large group of people who are now at the mercy of the executive branch.
Natelson is the Independence Institute's Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, and is a former professor of law at the University of Montana. Speaking from his home in Lakewood, Colorado, Natelson said the president's action effective placed nearly five million illegal immigrants under the direct control of the executive branch of the U.S. government.
"Even though he is deferring deportation of something like nearly five million people, if you read his executive order, any of those people can be deported at any time on the unbridled discretion of an executive branch official, if they find that there is 'an important federal interest for deporting them'," Natelson said. "So, the effect is to create a large class of people who are essentially under the thumb of the executive branch."
Natelson then addressed the constitutionality of the president's action.
"The Constitution states that the job of the president, is to take care that the laws of the nation be faithfully executed," he said. "Since he doesn't have adequate resources to completely enforce the law against all people in the country illegally, it's important for him to prioritize. Whether or not he can do that properly is less a question of constitutionality, and more a statutory question. My point here is to say that Congress, in this issue, is not blameless. There's a long history of Congress passing vague and overly broad laws and then to enforce, or not enforce them that outrage people, and then members of Congress get all self-righteous and say now we have to do something about the executive branch, when in fact it was the laws or lack of enforcement that helped to create the problem in the first place."
Natelson said the President acted against the spirit of the constitution with his executive order on Thursday night.
"It certainly is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution for President Obama to defer deportation of large classes of people," he said. "It would be appropriate for him to do so in certain individual cases, but it's certainly contrary to the Constitution for the President to defer large classes of people, but on the other hand, as the Office of Legal Counsel opinion points out, there is also a history of Congress acquiescing in this kind of action."