Even in our divided politics, it should be a matter of consensus that the president of the United States can’t write laws on his own.
That’s what President Barack Obama did twice when he unilaterally granted amnesties to swaths of the illegal-immigrant population. The courts blocked one of these measures, known as DAPA, and President Donald Trump has now begun the process of ending the other, DACA, on a delayed, rolling basis.
In a country with a firmer commitment to its Constitution and the rule of law, there’d be robust argument over how to deal with the DACA recipients — so-called DREAMers who were brought here by their illegal-immigrant parents as children — but no question that Congress is the appropriate body for considering the matter, not the executive branch.
Instead, President Trump is getting roundly denounced by all his usual critics for inviting Congress to work its will. Obama came out of his brief retirement to join the pile-on. In a Facebook post, the former president said it’s wrong “to target these young people,” and called Trump’s act “cruel” and “contrary to our spirit, and to common sense.”
This is a lot of hyperventilating, even for a former president of the United States who must loathe his successor. Trump’s decision is a relatively modest way to roll back what is clearly an extralegal act.