Charles Krauthammer: The immigration bombshell: naked lawlessness

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER Modified: June 22, 2012 at 7:44 am •  Published: June 22, 2012
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This is not discretion. This is a fundamental rewriting of the law.

It is shameful that congressional Democrats should be applauding such a brazen end-run. Of course it's smart politics. It divides Republicans, rallies the Hispanic vote and pre-empts Marco Rubio's attempt to hammer out an acceptable legislative compromise. Very clever. But, by Obama's own admission, it is naked lawlessness.

As for policy, I sympathize with the obvious humanitarian motives of the DREAM Act. But two important considerations are overlooked in concentrating exclusively on the DREAM Act poster child, the straight-A valedictorian who rescues kittens from trees.

First, offering potential illegal immigrants the prospect that, if they can successfully hide long enough, their children will one day freely enjoy the bounties of American life creates a huge incentive for yet more illegal immigration.

A shared allegiance

Second, the case for compassion and fairness is hardly as clear-cut as advertised. What about those who languish for years in godforsaken countries awaiting legal admission to America? Their scrupulousness about the law could easily cost their children the American future that illegal immigrants will have secured for theirs.

But whatever our honest and honorable disagreements about the policy, what holds us together is a shared allegiance to our constitutional order. That's the fundamental issue here. As Obama himself argued in rejecting the executive action he has now undertaken, “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the president, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that.”

Except, apparently, when violating that solemn obligation serves his re-election needs.

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