Executive Orders 101

President Obama is being vilified by the Right for his use of Executive Orders, especially this week on immigration issues.  These idiots don’t understand how government works so here’s a basic lesson in civics.  The President is in charge of the Executive branch of the federal government.  As such it is his responsibility to run the governmental agencies and departments which carry out programs, services, regulatory bodies, etc.  He does this through the issuance of Executive Orders much as a corporate CEO does.

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Interestingly conservatives who, for years, have argued that government should be run more like business don’t seem to comprehend that a President or a Governor is much like a CEO.  Every President issues Executive Orders because that’s how our government operates.  In reality Barack Obama has issued far fewer Executive Orders than any of his recent predecessors.  (See the above graphic)

He acted on immigration because the GOP House has refused, for 17 months, to act on a bipartisan bill which passed the Senate.  The Teapublicans have refused to bring the bill to a vote.  Therefore Obama did what every President since Eisenhower has done: acted on immigration matters unilaterally through his constitutional powers to run the federal government.  It is his job to run ICE along with every other federal agency.  

Obama said this the other day about the Republican’s inaction:

“It has now been 512 days, a year and a half, in which the only thing standing in the way of that bipartisan bill and my desk, so I can sign the bill, is a simple yes or no vote in the House of Representatives,” Mr. Obama told the enthusiastic crowd.

Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other President in recent history.  

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It is impossible though to deport 12 million people, many of whom didn’t sneak over the border.  About 38% of undocumented immigrants in this country simply overstayed their visas.  The cost to round up, detain and deport twelve million people would be staggering.  Considering conservatives long standing opposition to paying taxes this argument is interesting.  They’re certainly not willing to pay for such staggering costs.  Perhaps they think we can simply snap our fingers, say some magic words and have them all disappear.  Wait, didn’t Hitler try that with the Jews?

Five million of these people the President has chosen not to deport are family members who have close relations, parents or children, who are here legally.  Deporting them would break up family units.  Many more are children who were brought here illegally by their parents.   I did a TV show on BCTV earlier this year with two young women who are covered by his DACA Executive Order.

For people who claim to be all about “family values” the eagerness of conservatives to break up families is offensive.

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