Tomorrow night (Thursday, November 20, 2014) at 8PM, the President of the United States will address the nation to announce what steps his administration intends to take to reform U.S. immigration law and policy. This announcement represents the culmination of the President’s evolution on his authority as the nation’s chief executive. In June 2014, when it became clear that the House of Representatives would not take up the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate, the President made a statement that he would take administrative action to ameliorate the harsh effects of our immigration law.
On this President’s Day, we wish to add a historical perspective to the robust exercise of executive authority. The President routinely tells audiences that he does not have the power to act unilaterally on immigration reform. Frustration and anger have mounted as the toll from deportations rises, and the lost opportunities due to the lack of immigration reform are compiled. The President’s claim of impotency is in direct conflict with how the right wing of the GOP (is there another wing?) sees the President.