Former Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales supports President Barack Obama’s potential use of executive actions to grant millions of illegal immigrants temporary amnesty.
Some pro-amnesty advocates believe that Obama could legally grant amnesty to 10 million illegal immigrants, but Gonzales wrote in a USA Today op-ed that he applauds Obama’s “commitment to address this issue” with executive actions, “provided his actions are consistent with his duty under the Constitution to faithfully execute our laws.”
Gonzales said he believes that presidential power lies somewhere between the belief that the “president has no inherent power” and the view that the chief executive has “an expansive inherent power that allows the president to act as the public needs demand.”
Gonzales, who pushed the unitary executive theory while in the Bush White House, concedes that America “was founded on the rule of law, and as a sovereign nation we have the authority and responsibility to determine citizenship and residency requirements.” Conflating legal immigration with illegal immigration that threatens America’s sovereignty, he writes that America is “also a nation of immigrants” and claims “these fundamental American truths are in tension with one another.”
He argues that when Obama enacts his executive amnesty, “some” of the criticism will be legitimate. After acknowledging that “we should welcome good faith challenges to questionable exercises of power by any branch of government,” and “Congress has a duty to protect the institutional prerogatives of the legislative branch,” Gonzales nevertheless implies that illegal immigrant juveniles are more important than the country’s Constitution and rule of law.
“However, I hope that in doing so, the constitutional battlefield does not become littered with the souls of innocent children,” he writes. “This is not just a classroom exercise or courtroom drama. This is a real world crisis involving human beings.” Gonzales also argues that “the overwhelming majority” of the “innocent children,” nearly 90% of whom are teenagers, “are not criminals, drug dealers, or violent offenders.”
Without acknowledging that Obama’s temporary amnesty program lured more illegal immigrant juveniles to the country, Gonzales insists that Obama should send the message that America will enforce its laws even while granting amnesty to millions of more illegal immigrants, which Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has said would convince even more illegal immigrants to make the trek to America.
“When he acts, the president should leave no doubt that while we are a compassionate nation that takes care of children, we are also a nation of laws and will enforce those laws to secure our borders,” Gonzales concludes.