In the latest round of dueling press releases disguised as serious legislative action, the House of Representatives this week passed the ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014 (H.R. 4138), a Moses-like edict to the president to obey the law, to which the president quickly answered with a public event in the ornate East Room of the White House where he promised to kick illegal aliens out of the country more humanely.
ENFORCE in this instance stands for Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments. At best, one can applaud House Republicans for scrounging in their late-night scrabble for a suitable ‘R’ in this farcical legislative proposal.
Pres. Obama, meanwhile, has linked arms with the Hispanic caucus and confessed his true obsession: that he’d rather be Pope than President.
At issue in both these PR stunts is the politics of Executive Authority (which used to be called the constitutionality of Executive Authority). The Homeland Security policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been in effect for over 18 months, and thousands of young undocumented immigrants will soon be re-applying to remain formally exempt from existing federal law for an additional two year period. In the Courts of Deportation Morass, ICE attorneys are struggling with voluminous requests for prosecutorial discretion, which is French for who, me? Apparently less enforcement of the INA is more humane than generic enforcement of the INA.
These development on the whole, where the law is so watered down as to be the subject of competing pronouncements across Pennsylvania Avenue as to legitimacy, amount to prima facie evidence that the laws, if not the lawmakers, truly need to change. Stay tuned, America. The show goes on.