There is much to be said about Barack Obama’s announcement last night of an executive amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, and other Chronicles writers have already addressed several important aspects. But I would like to say a word about what this announcement reveals about President Obama. Last night, Barack Obama showed that he holds our laws in contempt, both our immigration laws and the Constitution. As Obama himself stated in 2011, “there are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we 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.” Obama may not like the fact that the House Republicans have refused to give him an immigration bill he wants to sign, but the House of Representatives is under no obligation to provide the president with legislation to his liking, and the Constitution does not give the president the right to overturn the laws that Congress has actually passed.
Barack Obama also showed that he holds the American people in contempt. Earlier this month, Americans went to the polls and voted against Barack Obama and his policies. Far from showing that the American people support amnesty for illegal immigrants, the midterm elections revealed, once again, that the American people are opposed to amnesty, which is precisely the reason the House has not acted the way Obama wants. But Barack Obama does not care what the American people want, anymore than he cares what the Constitution says. Indeed, what president who had the interests of Americans at heart would open our borders at a time when the federal government’s broadest measure of unemployment shows that 11.5% of Americans are unemployed and other economists believe that the true rate of unemployment, taking into account all those who are underemployed or who have left the labor market because they couldn’t find work, is closer to 20%?
Finally, Barack Obama showed his contempt for America. He does not recognize America as a real country, one with borders to defend, a national identity to preserve, and national interests to advance. If several million Americans had moved illegally to Mexico, it is unlikely that Obama would demand that Mexico change its laws to allow them to stay, much less that Mexicans toss aside their traditions and begin speaking English to make the gringos feel more welcome. For Obama, America is, at most, a vehicle to advance an abstract ideology.
Six years ago, some people associated with American conservatism dubbed themselves “Obamacons” and wrote essays presenting Obama as a moderate, even conservative figure. Some of them are still at it. Obama’s actions last night show just how deluded these folks were.
[To read more on Obama's amnesty, click here to go to our recent blog posts and check out the pieces by John Seiler, Srdja Trifkovic, Scott Richert, and Patrick Buchanan]
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.