Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: Can Obama just pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

While the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill collects dust in the House, undocumented immigration activists are ramping up protests. Seven such immigration reform activists were arrested Wednesday for chaining themselves to the White House fence to push the House to pass immigration reform.

In an interview with Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he would support legislation to reform immigration if it ended up on his desk. He said he would not only support sweeping legislation changes but also smaller, more specific bills to address order security, a clearer path to citizenship, and general improvements to an antiquated immigration system.

“The only ‘no’ we’ll accept is no more deportations,” said Tomas Martinez, a member of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights in an NBC Latino article. “The President can’t deny he has the power and the responsibility to stop deportations. We’re being told to wait for reform, but waiting is not an option when 1,200 of us are being deported each day.”

But a bill that addresses all of these issues has been standing still, untouched by the House after passing through the Senate on June 27. Can Obama actually push House members to vote on bipartisan legislation the Senate already passed? Can the President even issue an executive order and totally bypass the House? The bill has been touted as a bipartisan victory, so shouldn’t both parties be happy with the modifications to the immigration system?

On the surface, it seems as if the President cannot do much. Our government is set up with checks and balances that are supposed to grant equal power to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Taking executive action while a bill sits in the legislative branch would be a blatant circumvention of the standard lawmaking process. We have already seen a growing executive branch under Obama, and this would be another step that could serve as an undermining precedent.

But on June 5, 2012, President Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) so that undocumented Dreamers could stay in the U.S. longer to apply for citizenship without fear of deportation. He did this without Congress to ensure action was taken.

Matthew Kolken, an immigration lawyer in Buffalo, N.Y., said Obama does have the authority to change the number of deportations without ordering comprehensive immigration reform. He said prosecutorial discretion would help deportation officials sift through students, parents and actual violent criminals.

“The administration would have it in their power to institute removal proceeding if the individual has a criminal record,” Kolken said. “The president has misrepresented his deportation record since taking office, and I believe what he is doing is for political expediency more so than keeping his campaign promises.”

Even after the President campaigned and said he would fight for immigrant rights, the number of deportations in the U.S. has not decreased. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse in Syracuse, there have been 192,270 deportation proceedings alone this year, and only a small percentage of these people were found guilty of capital crimes.

Obama has already centralized the power of the U.S. government to the executive branch regarding the immigration issue, as illustrated by DACA. In the midst of the Super Bowl of political games, the President is also making an effort to maintain a power balance — and friendly relations — between the executive offices and legislators.

In an issue as pressing as immigration reform, the President cannot stand idly by as the bill sits in the House. He has the power to lower the number of deportations by focusing more on criminals instead of peaceful, working immigrants — an action that may serve a purpose before a full bill can be passed.


  1. With 25 million Americans unemployed, the majority of Americans dont support illegal alien amnesty. Obama needs to do his job and enforce deportation laws on the books. Only big business and Democrat special interests support amnesty.

    • Why these 25 Mil Americans unemployed?Because they won’t work.That’s it. Americans,go to get a job,not to get foodstamps!

      • No because they lost their construction jobs to dumb Mexicans who work for $5 an hour and pay not taxes of have no healthcare. But come to America to the free education for their kids and flood the emergency rooms for free healthcare. And then they send money “home” taking it out of the U.S. economy.

        Illegals need to be deported now. And they will be. Why don’t you work building up the toilet bowl Mexico. Obama could not be more wrong on this issue.

        • Really? Americans lost their jobs to dumb Mexicans who work for 5 dollars an hour? Its funny, my uncle owns a construction business, where he hires mostly Mexicans, due to the fact that he can’t keep Americans working!!!!! I can assure you that “dumb” Mexicans don’t work for 5 dollars an hour!!! Go to a construction site where all employees there are “American”, its a shame, they take so many smoke breaks throughout the day it will take double the time to get a job done. NOOO…you are wrong, this country is based on immigration and alot of America was constructed by hard working, family oriented, Mexicans (hispanics,immigrants ect). I am an American citizen and I believe maybe all the uneducated rednecks who know absolutley nothing about immigration or federal law should stay out of conversations regarding, immigrants, their families and jobs bieng taken by them. Its called humanity, these people are human biengs who were born into poverty. Illegal immigrants don’t get on wellfare, they won’t qualify due to the fact that they don’t have a social security number. Send money “home”?, wouldn’t you? If you had children to support there? It makes sense, give these non criminal undocumented immigrants a chance to work legally and pay taxes, they will be able to establish a secure family life here and can invest in this country “boosting” the economy. Not to mention the fees and back taxes that they would be required to pay. I am sorry to say that the majority of people not working and on wellfare in this country are legal Americans, many whom which are able to work who CHOOSE not too!

          “Give me your tired, your Poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homless, temptest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door”

          All of us came from somewhere, we are all descendents of immigrants!

  2. “The only ‘no’ we’ll accept is no more deportations,”

    LEGAL Americans are sick and tired of the cocky, arrogant Mexicans and their racist advocates, with their “demands” and whiny illegals protesting constantly – with their Spanish signs. We can’t stand that fact that these criminals break many laws but think they are above the law and immune from consequences of their criminal activities, and that the USA shold bow down to them. NEVER!!!

    As Brian stated, we have laws that should be enforced. If they had been enforced previously, we would millions whining and crying constantly. America cannot accept 20 million illegals spitting out anchor babies that legal citizens are left to pay for. They should all be sent back to their own countries to apply for citizenship as our laws state. Criminals don’t deserve any special treatment or amnesty!

    • What about whiny Americans who wont go out and get a job to support their families? What about all of the other “Laws” that should be enforced but aren’t! Do you think it helps the economy that legal Americans abuse the wellfare system and get away with it every day?, The laws these people break are simply not having a piece of paper justifyng that they can live, work and have the opportunity to build their lives here. Yet its ok for child molestors to do a few years in prision and then be released to the streets. All they are asking for is a chance to work and pay taxes legally, im a little sick of Americans so upset because they say illegals are taking their jobs, when most of the time the jobs “taken” are jobs that need to be done but Americans wont work them! It is sad that people still talk about innocent children, calling them anchor babies ect, its actually kind of disguisting and inhumane. The United States of America is the Land of Opportunity and as human biengs, we should want to reach out and help those people who are unfarely born into poverty and third world countries. Maybe if the immigration laws were fair and just, people wouldn’t come illegally, they would apply for a visa and come the legal way but NO, these workers are rejected entry and sometimes you do what you have to do to survive.