The Obama administration has said, directly or though its mouthpieces like Cecilia Munoz, that it’s hands are tied when it comes to providing some sort of administrative relief to certain classes of undocumented immigrants, namely DREAMers. Advocates, activists, and community members at large have been told that the president has to follow the laws, even if they are broken, and that the real power is in Congress.
And yet, just this week the world is learning about the type of executive power that President Obama can execute – and yes I chose that word intentionally. Earlier this week the New York Times reported on what is being called the president’s Secret Kill List, an internal executive branch process that allegedly satisfies due process standards. This allows Obama to personally sign off on targets of drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. You can check it Democracy Now’s excellent coverage here ( link opens to a YouTube video).
It appears that in this election season, Obama is more interested in appeasing the right than doing what is right. An even more scary possibility is that Obama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, actually thinks this is an appropriate course of action. His administration has no problem wielding executive power to decide if someone labeled a “militant” should die, but throws his hands up in the air when it comes to separating families and destroying lives on two sides of a border via deportation.
What is spectacular, but not surprising is how many alleged liberals take this information, like Obama’s inaction on immigration reform, as an opportunity to press play on the canned responses that work well for both instances of the use (or lack) of executive power :
He inherited this from Bush
It would have been worse under a Republican President
It will be worse under Romney
This is why electoral politics will not save anyone’s life.