It took Barack Obama just inside of eight months to violate the unspoken rule that every former president save one has followed. The rule is keeping your yap shut about your successors, and the one president prior to Obama to break it was Jimmy Carter, the second worst president in the nation’s history.
What Obama had to say was hardly worth the breath expended. It was predictable right down to the accusations that stick like glue on the accuser. An example was his assertion that Donald Trump made his decision purely for political reasons — which is precisely why Obama and the Democrats embraced DACA during his time in the White House. By giving amnesty to children of aliens who came to this country illegally, the Democrats are pretty much guaranteed a new loyal voting bloc.
Obama further asserted that Trump’s refusal to honor this policy is somehow “not legal.” Here is his explanation (via Axios, which has the entire statement):
Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.
That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result. [Emphasis added]
This is pure gibberish. Prosecutorial discretion is formally defined as “the authority of an agency or officer to decide what charges to bring and how to pursue each case.” For prosecutorial discretion to apply, there has to be a law involved. Here there is none. DACA, by Obama’s own admission, was never passed into law. Neither was it an executive order. DACA rather was a statement of intent penned in a memo from Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security. It was, to borrow the language of photographs on food products, a “serving suggestion.” By choosing not to “serve” DACA, Pres. Trump is exercising his executive privilege, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The rest of Obama’s statement is a mix of hyperbole and wishful thinking. He writes:
But today … [a] shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
Even if one is willing to subscribe to the myth that all DACA candidates are children (some are well past weaning), it is disingenuous of Obama to impute such lofty goals to all of them — and perhaps any of them since he is speaking in sweeping generalities. He has no better idea which of these illegal-immigrants-by-accident will start businesses and staff labs than he does which will end up on welfare or in a jail cell.
If Obama was going to violate the “mum” rule this soon, it’s a pity he couldn’t find a better topic to whine about.