Our Nation’s income tax system is a giant mess. It’s complicated; it’s not fair; it’s outdated – and not everyone follows the law.
Hypothetically, suppose tomorrow, the President issued an edict from the White House directing the IRS not to enforce tax laws for certain special people, for example, people under the age of 30.
Why? Maybe the President just doesn’t like the law, so he issues that new order. Well, much to the surprise of all of us who believe in the Constitution and in the separation of power, something very similar did happen.
In his latest Friday afternoon surprise, the President issued a decree unilaterally discarding the immigration law of the land – a law passed by Congress and signed by a previous President. The President disagrees with the law; and since he had to have his way, in spite of the Constitution, he improperly ordered his way to be the law of the land. The President’s temporary amnesty plan applies to those who are under 30 years of age. They also can obtain a work permit.
It would be nice if the President were as concerned about the 23 million Americans who are looking for work in America as he is almost the 12 million undocumented individuals the President claims are looking for work in America. News reports even show 50 percent of new American college graduates can’t even find work.
If we looked at a chart from ninth grade civics classes: a bill is filed in the House. If the House of Representatives debates it and passes the bill, it goes down the hallway to the Senate, and they discuss it and vote on the bill. If they pass the bill, it becomes the law if the President signs it.
We call that “the law of the land.”
But the President, it seems, has ignored most of this and has just issued new orders from the White House to not pay any attention to the Senate or to the House of Representatives.
Like most of us learned in ninth grade civics classes, it is Congress’ job to write laws and the President’s job to execute the laws. That means: enforce the law. It doesn’t mean he is supposed to ignore laws and then issue his own policies like kings used to with their policies. He is to follow the law whether he likes it or not. Once upon a time, the President even claimed to believe in the Constitution.
Here is what he said last year:
“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed.”
But that was a year ago. That was then and this is now. If the President doesn’t like a law, he believes he can ignore it and come up with his own set of rules.
Our Founders envisioned a country in which freedom was protected from government and was limited from the policies of kings. You see, old King George III of England constantly decreed new laws without the consent of the people. That was one of the reasons we rebelled against the merry ole King of England and his monarchy and his policies. Our ancestors structured the American Government in the Constitution. The last time I checked, it was Congress that makes laws and the job of the executive branch to enforce laws, not to ignore the ones it doesn’t like.
The immigration system needs fixing. Congress should do its job and fix the problem. In the meantime, the President should do his job, not ours, and he should enforce the law. Otherwise, we have lawlessness in America.
The President says he can use prosecutorial discretion not to enforce immigration law. The President is wrong again. I dealt with prosecutorial discretion as a former prosecutor and a judge. Prosecutorial discretion is when a prosecutor does not prosecute a specific case because the accused is innocent or there is insufficient evidence or witnesses have disappeared or the government has violated the rights of the accused, et cetera. Prosecutorial discretion cannot be used to ignore a specific law because the government just doesn’t like the law.
It is true, through no fault of their own, that young undocumented individuals are here as result of decades of a failed broken immigration system, but the President has no interest in fixing what is broken. He is more concerned with picking up a few votes to further his reelection. The law gets in the way, so his policies look like they come from an emperor instead of a President.
So what new orders will be issued next week from the President and the White House? Is he going to ignore the Tax Code for some in the name of prosecutorial discretion? I guess it depends on what political forces push the President to new orders and decrees.
We shall see.
Stay tuned for another day in the life of the Republic. It’s time for the former constitutional professor to follow the Constitution, not to make up his own rules during his on-the-job training.
And that’s just the way it is.