After news broke this morning that the Obama administration is using executive order to bypass deportation of young illegals and instead, grant them work permits, the Daily Caller‘s Matt Lewis reports the following:
MR. RAMOS: Mr. President, my question will be as follows: With an executive order, could you be able to stop deportations of the students? And if that’s so, that links to another of the questions that we have received through univision.com. We have received hundreds, thousand, all related to immigration and the students. Kay Tomar (ph) through univision.com told us — I’m reading — “What if at least you grant temporary protective status, TPS, to undocumented students? If the answer is yes, when? And if no, why not?”
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, temporary protective status historically has been used for special circumstances where you have immigrants to this country who are fleeing persecution in their countries, or there is some emergency situation in their native land that required them to come to the United States. So it would not be appropriate to use that just for a particular group that came here primarily, for example, because they were looking for economic opportunity.
With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed — and I know that everybody here at Bell is studying hard so you know that we’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws.
There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.
Apparently the president really must believe the private sector is doing just fine since he apparently acknowledges the healthy abundance of jobs available to hand out to non-citizens of this country.
Update by Doug: (h/t 01_Explorer_01) The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro tried to ask Obama a question today when he made the controversial announcement that he had basically decided to unilaterally ignore the nation’s immigration laws. King Obama then scolded the reporter for interrupting him, essentially saying this wasn’t the time to ask questions. The clear implication was that Obama would take questions after he was finished with his statement. He didn’t.
The Daily Caller has released a statement as well as the transcript of the exchange here.
Update II by Doug: This is as predictable as it is funny (in a sad way). This afternoon on MSNBC (where else?), some moron suggested that the only reason Munro asked Obama a tough question on what amounts to a decision to impose amnesty to nearly a million illegals by decree is because he’s black. He also suggests that we’ve never had a president “heckled” and this too, is because Obama is black. Natch.
“This is just so unprecedented and outrageous, that you have to ask the question, would the right-wing president be doing this if we had a white president there?” MSNBC guest and Democratic strategist Julian Epstein said on the channel this afternoon.
“I think it’s a vert important question because I think this is the first African-American president. We’ve never had a white president been told by the opposing party to shut up in the middle of a major address to the Congress. We’ve never had a president like this heckled so disrespectfully. We’ve never had this otherness afforded to any other president and I think the right wing has some explaining to do because to me it’s patently obvious,” he said.
Obama refused to take any questions on an enormously controversial policy change. He’s not a monarch and it’s a reporter’s job to ask tough questions, especially when the President refuses to explain himself and the authority the President uses to impose the new policy is characterized by dubious legal underpinnings. I wouldn’t this being heckled, but I do recall Bill Plante heckling George W. Bushas he left office. And I have fuzzy recollections of both Plante and Sam Donaldson constantly heckling Reagan in the 1980s. Is MSNBC suggesting that was racially motivated too?
How, I wonder, would the media react if President Bush had unilaterally imposed a conservative pet cause in 2004 purely to shore up his base in an election year then refuse to answer any questions? I guess we’ll never know since conservatives believe in the seperation of powers as written in the constitution.
Update III: Sheriff Joe Arpaio: “I’ll continue to enforce our illegal immigration laws.” Video here.