The Speaker Says President Not Trustworthy on Immigration, Leaked Memo Proves Him Right

This is a situation Democrats and Republicans should be able to find common ground on

Speaker Paul Ryan is taking fire for saying he’s not expecting any immigration reform to occur while President Obama is in office because he can’t be trusted.

The New York Times reports that on CBS’s Face the Nation, Ryan said, “Look, I think it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue.”

“He tried to go it alone, circumventing the legislative process with his executive orders, so that is not in the cards.”

He’s referring to programs Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known by their acronyms DACA and DAPA.  Obama tried to implement these in November of 2014. They have been on hold since the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided against lifting the Texas judge’s injunction putting them in stasis.

According to the New York Times, Obama wasn’t following the rules:

In a decision late Monday, Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Brownsville, ruled in favor of Texas and 25 other states that had challenged Mr. Obama’s immigration actions. The judge said that the administration’s programs would impose major burdens on states, unleashing illegal immigration and straining state budgets, and that the administration had not followed required procedures for changing federal rules.

Talking Points Memo notes Ryan made similar comments on Obama’s integrity on ABC News.

“I think he’s proven untrustworthy on this issue. He tried to go around Congress with an Executive Order to rewrite laws unilaterally,” Ryan reportedly said. “Presidents don’t write laws. Congress writes laws.”

“So yes,” Ryan continued. “I do not believe we should and we won’t bring immigration legislation with a president we cannot trust on this issue. If we believe and have consensus on things like border enforcement, and interior security, then that’s fine.”

What Ryan didn’t mention was the Obama administration’s behavior following the injunction. They actually had to apologize for ignoring it:

The Justice Department lawyers said Homeland Security, which is the defendant in the case, told them Wednesday that an immigration agency had approved about 2,000 applications for three-year work permits, which was part of Mr. Obama’s new amnesty, even after Judge Hanenissued his Feb. 16 injunction halting the entire program.

Top Obama officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, had repeatedly assured Congress they had fully halted the program and were complying with the order.

“The government sincerely regrets these circumstances and is taking immediate steps to remedy these erroneous three-year terms,” the administration lawyers said.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it was “remarkable” that the administration kept approving some applications.

“The last time I checked, injunctions are not mere suggestions. They are not optional,” the Iowa Republican said. “This disregard for the court’s action is unacceptable and disturbing, especially after Secretary Johnson’s assurances that his agency would honor the injunction.”

Regardless of the legal decisions and the apologies, there was outrage over Ryan’s assertion that Obama couldn’t be trusted.

But just days after his comments, a DHS memo was leaked, showing Obama was once again planning on ignoring the rule of law and circumventing the judge’s injunction, essentially proving Ryan’s point:

A newly leaked internal DHS memorandum produced for an off-the-record agency conclave reveals that the Obama administration is actively planning to circumvent a federal court injunction that suspended part of last November’s deferral-based amnesty initiative. The document, apparently prepared as follow-up from a DHS “Regulations Retreat” last summer, appears sure to re-ignite concerns in Congress as well as federal judges in the Fifth Circuit. The Administration has already been criticized from the bench for handing out work permits to hundreds of thousands of deferred action beneficiaries, in direct violation of a district court’s order. With the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals deciding any day now whether to deny the Administration’s request to reverse that injunction, this public leak has come at a critical juncture for U.S. enforcement policy.

Ryan’s concerns and statements aren’t based on partisan politics, but on actions the president has taken in direct opposition to his own words. President Obama himself said he could do what he later turned around and attempted to do.

This is a situation Democrats and Republicans should be able to find common ground on, but it takes a degree of forward thinking.

For those who don’t know what this mean, consider this question: would you want a Republican president working to circumvent a Democrat controlled Congress or a judge’s injunction?

Put politics aside for a minute and realize when the power of an office is expanded, that expansion carries over to the next administration. You might not like what they do with it.

Photo Credit: Tony Alter/flikr
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