Posts tagged Elise Foley

No higher law

At a recent grandstanding speech on immigration reform, in which Barack Obama attempted to pass himself off as a supporter of immigrants while presiding over the unprecedented, relentless deportation of two million, immigrant families and activists confronted him over his record. He responded by passing the buck, and insisting that he was powerless.

Our families are separated, a young man yelled during remarks in San Francisco at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center. Mr. President, please use your executive authority to halt [deportations]. We agree that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but at the same time, you have the power to stop deportations.

Actually, I don’t,[1] the president replied, and that’s why we’re here.

Other people in the crowd began to yell as well: Stop deportations. Yes, we can.

. . . What you need to know, when I’m speaking as president of the United States and I come to this community, is that if in fact I could solve all of these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,[2] he said. But we’re [sic] also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition.

So the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our [sic] laws, he continued.

— Elise Foley, Obama Confronts Hecklers At Immigration Speech, in the Huffington Post (25 November 2013)

If laws command injustice, then those laws ought to be violation. A nation of laws is nothing more than a rigid structure of power; and when that power is turned against innocent families, it deserves no respect, and no loyalty. Those who administer that power inflict real evil on helpless victims, and when they excuse themselves for responsibility by pointing to the laws, by pointing to political etiquette, by pointing to the demands of their office, they are doing nothing less, and nothing more, than saying that their political ambitions and political interests are more important to them than the rights of innocent people.

A law that commands injustice should be treated as no law at all. There is no office that can nullify a man’s conscience, no order that erases moral responsibility. There is no higher law than human rights or common decency. We have here the most privileged man on the face of the earth lecturing disenfranchised immigrant families about how powerless he supposedly is to stop — the most privileged man on the face of the earth begging that he is supposedly powerless over detention and deportation quotas that he set; begging that he is supposedly powerless to restrain the force of agencies directly responsible to him and his appointees; defending his own political cowardice, and tossing around contemptuous lines about easy ways out, delivered to the victims of his own detestable politically-driven assaults on immigrants.

Barack Obama’s record on immigration has been shameful. And his endless political excuse-making for record mass deportations, is despicable.

Also.

  1. [1] This is, of course, a lie. Obama has repeatedly used executive power to unilaterally halt enforcement and to halt legal proceedings when he found it in his political interest to do so.
  2. [2] This is, of course, a lie.