Obama: The executive order on immigration is legally justified

Obama: The executive order on immigration is legally justified

U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November

Washington Examiner – President Obama on Sunday said Congress’ failure to approve immigration legislation served as legal justification for his executive order legalizing 4.1 million undocumented immigrants.

Indeed, Obama suggested during an interview with ABC News’ “This Week” that his action would have been on shakier legal ground had Congress actually passed comprehensive immigration reform. Obama made his claim when asked to explain how his executive order compared to previous presidents, who acted only after the enactment of a law approved by Congress, and to fulfill the intent of the legislative branch.

“I’m not sure that argues in favor,” Obama said. “If Congress acted specifically and left something out and then a president goes in right afterwards and does more than Congress agreed to, it’s actually not different. It’s similar.”

Obama sidestepped when pressed by “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos to explain why he moved forward with executive action he had previously claimed was beyond his constitutional authority. The president also dismissed the notion that future presidents could use Obama’s precedent to take expansive executive action on immigration to give Americans a pass on paying their taxes without approval from Congress.

“That’s not true. If you’ve looked, George, I often times was asked, ‘Can you just halt deportations?’ And I said, ‘No, I can’t do that,’ ” Obama said, when asked why he changed his mind.

“What is absolutely true is that we couldn’t solve the entire problem and still can’t solve the entire problem,” Obama added. “But what we can do is to prioritize felons, criminals, recent arrivals, folks who are coming right at the border, and acknowledge that if somebody’s been here for over five years, they may have an American child or a legal permanent resident child — it doesn’t make sense for us to prioritize them when we know that we need more resources.”

On taxes, Obama said the Internal Revenue Service already exercises prosecutorial discretion, only choosing to audit taxpayers who are deemed possible cheaters.

“The reason we have to do prosecutorial discretion in immigration is, that we know that we are not even close to being able to deal with the folks that have been here a long time,” Obama said. “The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks that are most likely to be cheating.”

Categories: Headlines, U.S.
Tags: Immigration

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