By Felicia Persaud
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 1, 2011: Under the powers granted to the U.S. President is the privilege to wield “executive power.”
Within the executive branch itself, the President has broad powers to issue rules, regulations, and instructions which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require congressional approval. Yet, President Obama this week insisted he has no executive power to prevent deportations of young students or execute a DREAM Act.
This even though he and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities but nada on immigration.
Asked at a Latino town hall forum at Washington’s Bell Multicultural High School, Obama insisted: “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”
Still Obama, it seems, thought nothing of backing rebels in a fight with Libya, without any Congressional approval, despite the many laws on the book. Obama vowed to use his power to appoint officials during Senate recesses if his nominations were not cleared and also decided to create a bipartisan budget commission under his own authority after Congress refused to do so. The Environmental Protection Agency is also moving forward with possible regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change, while a bill to cap such emissions languishes in the Senate.
So is the response on immigration BS or what? For Obama, it seems saying one thing and doing another is now the order of the day. The fact is that the President continues to pay lip service to immigration reform while under his match, the deportation rates continue to spiral.
It is not enough to say you are for immigration reform – whether at home or in Latin America – and do nothing to seriously push for it. The President told some 600 parents, students and teachers at the Univision television network town hall that he supported the DREAM Act. That may be so but how active did the Obama or the White House really lobby for this and why make a budget deal with Republicans that benefit the rich but fails to include any push for a vote on this measure.
Innocent U.S.-born children are even caught up in this maze, as evidenced recently with the random deportation of a U.S. citizen child because the DHS agents determined her father was undocumented and could not come to the airport to collect her.
Not even under George W. Bush has the deportation rates spiked this high.
The reality is that President Obama is fast alienating his base and without immigration reform will fully loose the Latino and immigrant vote come 2011. To say he has no executive power on immigration is nonsense and Univision’s Jorge Ramos should have challenged him on this. He has power – maybe not for total immigration reform, but at least some aspect.
The same message of change we can believe in and now as he said Monday, change that “doesn’t happen overnight,” is no longer enough.
The writer is founder of News AmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.