Immigration Politics: Obama’s Challenge

The American immigration system is broken, says President Obama. Agreed. That’s why his predecessor wanted to repair it, but right-leaning Republicans and left-oriented Democrats prevented this from happening. Now, with patience at an end and one of the Democrats’ most volatile constituencies in play, Obama can’t wait any longer for the U.S. Congress to present him with a draft bill. He wants to legalize the status of millions of illegal immigrants by executive order.

A few weeks after the debacle of the congressional elections comes what is tantamount to a challenge; the Republicans, who will soon hold the majorities in both houses of Congress, will at least see it that way, and they’ll want to retaliate appropriately.

Governing by executive order is monarchical, they shout at Obama, who, by the way, once held the same view. Added to the debate over illegal immigration is now the question of presidential authority. Whoever wagers that Obama and the Republican Congress will find their way to each other have to be either incorrigibly optimistic or naive.

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