The New DREAM Weaver

, E. J. Fores, Leave a comment

A new US Immigration and Customs Enforcement memorandum was released recently with stirring implications. This new memorandum says:

Because the agency is confronted with more administrative violations than its resources can address, the agency must regularly exercise “prosecutorial discretion” if it is to prioritize its efforts. In basic terms, prosecutorial discretion is the authority of an agency charged with enforcing a law to decide to what degree to enforce the law against a particular individual.

The memorandum goes onto say what factors you can use in this “prosecutorial discretion.” Among them, they list:

  • the circumstances of the person’s arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
  • the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the United States;
  • whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative, has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat;

These factors are all factors in what consisted of the DREAM Act, which would have provided for illegal youth who joined the military or attended high education, a path to legal citizenship. The bill was initially introduced into legislation in 2001. It has been reintroduced many times since, each with varying changes to the bill, and each time failing to receive a filibuster-proof number of votes (60). The bill fails to get off the ground in Congress, despite bipartisan efforts.

President Obama, who has been criticized by the Latin-American Community for his failure to address immigration policies, decided to side step the law making process and essentially enact the DREAM Act, by not enforcing existing laws, blaming “lack of resources.”

In the delegation of powers in the Constitution, Congress creates the laws, the Supreme Court interprets the laws, and the President executes the laws. We often criticize Supreme Court Justices who “rule from the bench,” or loosely interpret laws, thus creating new ones, when that is not their job. Here we have a president choosing to not enforce existing laws, thereby creating new laws.

Obama has consistently by passed Congress throughout his administration. He consistently appoints controversial people during Congressional recesses, he failed to consult Congress regarding military action in Libya, and has decided to enact the laws that he wants administratively, instead of legislatively.

Charles Krauthammer described this action as “outright lawlessness,” while appearing on Special Report with Chris Wallace. Regardless of the country’s need for immigration reform, the DREAM Act has failed to get through Congress. When the administration side steps Congress in ways such as this, it shows its lack of respect for the laws and lawmaking of our country.

 

E. J. Flores is is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org

 

 

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