In new must-read analysis posted at The New Republic, Brian Beutler dissects some of the recent criticism directed at President Obama’s potential executive action on immigration. Among the key excerpts include the following assessment:
Congress gave Obama the discretion he’s planning to use and Congress can take it away. Congress won’t do that, though, just like Congress hasn’t created a pathway to citizenship for eleven million immigrants currently living in the country without authorization. At least not yet. I’m not sure how we get from this impasse to the conclusion that Obama’s establishing a uniquely troublesome norm on purely procedural grounds. By what standard is the broad but legitimate use of enforcement discretion a categorically worse violation of political norms than capricious imposition of the Hastert rule? Is there a number of deferred action beneficiaries past which executive action loses its legitimacy and becomes a dangerous norm violation?
I don’t think you can get there without trespassing into substance and politics. And substantively I think the arguments for deferred action are much stronger—morally and practically—than the status quo.