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June 27, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Poll: Should Obama use his executive powers to fix immigration?

Should President Obama flex his executive powers to reform immigration laws? U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., thinks so. Read The Seattle Times’ news story and watch a floor speech delivered Thursday by Murray on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

Now vote in the poll:

If House Republicans refuse to consider the Senate’s hard-fought comprehensive immigration bill passed exactly one year ago this week, then Obama should carry out an option that has been available to presidents for decades. This week, House Speaker John Boehner announced he wants to sue Obama for using his executive authority in ways he doesn’t agree with. That’s baloney. The New York Times reports he isn’t ready to discuss which actions he plans to challenge. Nor has he acknowledged that Republican presidents have acted in a similar fashion.

As Forbes contributor Richard Salsman points out, Obama’s predecessors from both parties have resorted to executive actions often and for reasons that were sometimes less than noble. Remember Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order to intern Japanese Americans? History has viewed other decisions in a much more positive light, such as Republican Dwight Eisenhower’s order to end racial segregation in public schools.

On June 19, John Hudak of The Brookings Institute dug into the numbers and found that Obama has actually shown surprising restraint when it comes to issuing executive orders.

President Obama issues an executive order, on average, about every 11 days. President George W. Bush issued them every 10 days. President Reagan issued about one a week. President Carter issued more than one every five days.

See the Brookings chart below:

Source: The Brookings Institute

Source: The Brookings Institute

Each executive decision deserves close scrutiny. No one gets a free pass. Obama’s refusal in 2012 to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious arms-trafficking debacle was a disappointing use of executive privilege, as noted in a June 21, 2012 Pro Publica news story.

But Murray’s latest call for Obama to use his presidential powers to ease expensive detention practices and to stop “needless” deportations of productive, non-violent immigrants appears so far to be a practical response to an immigration crisis Congress is incapable of fixing on its own.



Comments | Topics: barack obama, congress, executive action


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