The Obama administration’s interagency departmental directives that have bypassed Congress and granted de facto amnesty for millions of illegal aliens could constitute an impeachable offense, document the New York Times bestselling authors of a book making the case for impeachment.
Even before the surge of unaccompanied alien children dominated the news cycle the past few weeks, leading to some calls for President Obama’s impeachment, the president’s actions from 2010 alone might be enough to constitute an impeachable offense, according to authors Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.
Indeed, those actions – overseeing the issuance of directives against enforcing immigration law – fundamentally reformed immigration law without congressional approval.
The moves led directly to the current state of affairs, in which illegal immigrants, including minors, are crossing the border at increased rates, say Klein and Elliott.
“President Obama has illegally, willfully, and deliberately been derelict of his duties as the Chief Executive while consistently usurping the constitutional authority vested with Congress to regulate immigration,” the authors write in their news-making book, “Impeachable Offenses: The case for removing Barack Obama from office.”
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the power to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
That clause has long been interpreted by constitutional scholars to give Congress the power to establish immigration policy.
“While Article II, Section 3, states the president’s role is to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’ Obama’s refusal to execute Congress’ immigration laws may therefore be an impeachable offense,” write Klein and Elliott.
On Tuesday, Sarah Palin cited open borders while calling for impeachment in a Breitbart.com opinion piece linked as the main story on the popular Drudge Report.
“It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment,” wrote Palin.
“The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is,” she wrote.
Klein and Elliott trace the open borders scandal to a series of interagency moves enacted during Obama’s first term.
Non-deportation the ‘new normal’
The first of two “Priority Memos” on immigration enforcement policies was issued June 30, 2010, by John Morton, then an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
Morton set the removal of “aliens” who posed a “danger to national security” as the highest priority, with other Priority 1 illegal immigrants being those who are/were either engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage or “who otherwise pose a danger to national security,” had been convicted of crimes, with a “particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders,” were 16 years of age and older but who had participated in organized criminal gangs (a group we discuss later), were subject to outstanding criminal warrants, and who otherwise posed a “serious risk to public safety.”
A second Morton memo followed Aug. 20, 2010. It narrowly addressed the “processing of certain cases in the immigration courts.” In particular, it focused on illegal immigrants who “simultaneously [had] an application or petition for legal status pending before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while facing removal proceedings in immigration court.”
The memo instructed ICE attorneys to “dismiss removal proceedings” for those thousands of people who had applications or petitions pending with USCIS and who would be eligible for “adjustment of status to permanent residence upon approval of the petition.”
The memo also instructed ICE attorneys to “expedite approval of applications or petitions by USCIS even where proceedings [were] not terminated.”
Drawing from his previous memos, Morton issued a third on June 17, 2011, which, Klein and Elliott write, can “only be characterized as a deliberate move to bypass Congress and issue backdoor amnesty for an unknown number of illegal immigrants.”
Morton’s new memo instructed all field officers, special field agents in charge and chief counsel to exercise prosecutorial discretion with civil immigration enforcement priorities in the apprehension, detention and removal of illegals.
Included were broad new factors his staff was to consider: an illegal’s “contributions to the community, including family relationships; the person’s age, with particular consideration given to minors and the elderly; whether the person or the person’s spouse is pregnant or nursing.” Among scores of other disqualifications for removal, the instructions also included a mandate for leniency for “individuals present in the United States since childhood and individuals with serious health conditions.”
Write Klein and Elliott: “The subtext of Morton’s memo was clear: Stop enforcing nearly all measures against illegals.”
Obama’s guiding hand
While some may have suspected Obama’s was the guiding hand behind Morton’s “prosecutorial discretion” memo, Klein and Elliott found that belief was confirmed in an Aug. 18, 2011, post on the White House blog written by Cecelia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
“There are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it’s clear that we can’t deport such a large number. So the administration has developed a strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first,” she wrote.
“Under the president’s direction, for the first time ever the Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States,” Muñoz stated.
Muñoz showed the Obama administration clearly favored “dreamers.” Among those ranked at a lower priority for deportation she said were “young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home” and “military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel.”
“The umbilical cord between the White House and DHS and ICE – and illegal immigrant ‘dreamers’ – could not be more obvious,” argued Klein and Elliott.
In August 2011, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a two-pronged initiative to limit deportations to those persons deemed by her department as the most dangerous to the country, rather than on the whole general population of millions of illegal aliens.
The Obama administration, she said, would limit deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis for illegals who met certain criteria, such as attending school, having family members in the military, or having primary responsibility for other family members’ care.
Add to this another “major shift” in deportation policy that month. The Obama administration was caught “slipping out” the news on the federal government’s new approach for the 300,000 pending deportation cases in federal deportation courts. The lower priority cases, “those not involving individuals considered violent or otherwise dangerous,” would be suspended.
The Obama administration also admitted the estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants could have their deportations deferred indefinitely and become eligible for work permits.
The Associated Press reported the government said it would “focus on sending back convicted criminals and those who might be a national security or public safety threat.”
Note Klein and Elliott: “In other words, in the space of three memos, a blog post, a couple departmental directives, and carefully-placed White House leaks, without any congressional approval – much less general public knowledge – the Obama administration took major steps toward comprehensive amnesty for many illegals.”