President Barack Obama's policy on immigration isn't just another new government program, says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — it's a "new law, created by the executive without Constitutional authority."
The president's prime-time address on Thursday was "technically a fine speech," but "very little of it was true," Gingrich says in an opinion piece for CNN
that's also posted on his Gingrich Productions
In the president's address, Gingrich writes, he described "what sounded like a reasonable plan to prioritize the deportation of felons, criminals, and gang members over the deportation of other people in the United States illegally."
And, Obama said, the proposal was within his authority as president, but Gingrich notes it "was not merely a directive to emphasize enforcement against those who have committed crimes, or even a simple pause on deportations for millions of people here illegally."
Gingrich says the White House actually announced its real policy in a memo
from its Office of Legislative Affairs hours before Obama took to the podium Thursday night.
That policy is a "17-point plan including several new programs without Congressional approval, budget appropriation or spending authorization, and many of which the President either didn't mention or which bore only a faint resemblance to what he described in his speech," Gingrich said.
According to the White House, Obama has directed the Department of Homeland Security to create a deferred action program to give illegal immigrants work permits for at least three years, and establishes criteria to keep people exempt from deportation.
"It establishes extensive new criteria by which people can register to be exempt from deportation," said Gingrich. DHS will have to employ thousands of bureaucrats to process those who "come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement."
In addition, applicants will have to prove they have been in the country for at least five years and will have to pay taxes, Gingrich noted.
"Well, a brand new program that hands out three-year work authorizations and processes more paperwork than many state DMVs is not merely saying, as the President put it in his speech, that "we're not going to deport you," said Gingrich.
In addition, the president said his executive action will offer relief to a narrow number of people, but the policy memo says the DHS will "direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing" people who are "national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers."
So while one group of 4 million will be eligible for the work authorization program, "there will be no resources directed at enforcing immigration law against the other 7 million people here illegally as long as they do not fall into a few narrow categories, according to the policy memo.
Meanwhile, Gingrich says, Obama is assuring the nation his actions are lawful and the same kind taken by presidents over the past half century.
Gingrich says Obama doesn't have any congressional sanction like the predecessors he cites and his actions are "are an order of magnitude larger" than those previous actions.
Gingrich describes the address as "a Gruber speech, and was designed to sound acceptable, even if it was a lie, a reference to Obamacare co-architect Jonathan Gruber's statements on how the Obama administration depended on "the stupidity of the American voter" to enable the healthcare reform plan.
"Listening to a speech in which the President lied about what he was proposing and lied about his authority to implement it, it was hard not to think of the Gruber model – which is really the Obama model, after all," writes Gingrich. "He said what he needed to say to do what he wants to do."
The problem is, in the past few years Obama has described on video 22 times how he does not have the legal and Constitutional authority to enact the reforms he announced Thursday night.
In 2011, Gingrich said, Obama said that there are "laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President."
But that has all changed, and "it's a shame he apparently thinks, like Gruber, that Americans are all so stupid we won't figure out he's not telling us the truth today," Gingrich concluded.
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