DREAM Lite, Dictatorship, and President Obama on the Rule of Law

DALLAS, June 16, 2012 — President Obama promised on Friday to “lift the shadow of deportation” from America and unleashed a maelstrom of criticism when he announced his new plan to halt deportations of illegal US residents who were brought to the country as children. After the Republican-majority Congress killed the more far-reaching DREAM Act, Obama’s new measure has been referred to as the “Dream Act Lite.” The controversy, however, stems not simply from the fact that Republicans and Democrats have radically differing opinions on the issue of immigration. No, the contention is primarily due to the President’s use of an executive order to bypass Congress. 

Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the change, “violates President Obama’s oath to uphold the laws of this land.”

Florida Representative Allen West agreed. “We have representative government,” West said in a statement, “and I think right now this shows that we’re getting away from government that’s based upon the consent of the American people, and we’re starting to live under a rule by edict or executive order.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham weighed in on the debate, tweeting, “President Obama’s attempt to go around Congress and the American people is at best unwise and possibly illegal.”

Someone else went even further, explaining how the act of suspending deportations through executive order is entirely contrary to the law of the land. “Congress passes the law,” explained this prominent Constitutional Law professor. “The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. 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.”

Yes, you have it: it was President Obama who made this statement just over a year ago, in the spring of 2011. This may be one of those situations where you just have to see it for yourself.

When America was forged into a nation just a couple of dozen decades ago, it was unique in that it was a nation governed by the rule of law. Whereas Europe was ruled by leaders who bore the government on their shoulders, composed laws, and issued mandates, America’s governmental system was set up in such a way that an executive official presided over the people for the express purpose of enforcing the laws created by the legislature. This design was no accident – it was intended to prevent any one person from wielding power over the rest. We’re not supposed to be a nation ruled by people, but a nation ruled by law. And in a nation under the rule of law, no one is above the law.

President Obama seems to have understood this at one time, although it is evident from the video clip above that he didn’t respect it, appreciate it, or like it. Unfortunately, his recent action indicates that he no longer cares about the foundation upon which America was erected.   

Is DREAM legislation a good thing? Maybe. Maybe not. But if President Obama feels as strongly about it as he appears to, he has definitely missed his calling. Obama should be in the legislature, not in the Oval Office. It is the legislature which makes decisions regarding the law. The duties of the executive branch are merely to execute the laws that a representative body of citizens has already passed. When the executive disregards the will of the people’s duly elected representatives and begins dictating commands at his own whims, we call him a dictator.

A history buff, self-taught artist, and enthusiastic autodidact, Bryana brings her always politically incorrect and usually passionate views about politics and the theory of government to her readers. In addition to writing for the TWTC, she also writes for The College Conservative and maintains the official High Tide Journal at www.thehightide.com. You can also find her on twitter at @HighTideJournal and on facebook.

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Bryana Johnson

Passionate about liberty, and the theory of government, Bryana serves as the vice president of a local political club and reports on political happenings around the globe.
In addition to her political activities, Bryana has won prizes in multiple poetry contests and her first poetry collection, Having Decided To Stay, was released in 2012. She writes regularly about the good life, literature and the world’s great Lover over at www.bryanajohnson.com. You can follow her on twitter at @_Bryana_Johnson and on facebook. 

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