Editorial: Using discretion

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  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    Thanks, Mike Richards. Is that an overview of a law passed by Congress, or of another policy statement? Would be fun to know where in the U.S. Code it is, if that is where it comes from.

    Was it on another comment strand that someone noted the Emancipation Proclamation was also an executive decree, same as ia Napolitano's written statement Thursday. Some may think it goes too far to compare the illegal immigrant with slaves of the past. But, though on a much lesser scale, I think not. I see them as being deprived of God-given rights. Those who are just wanting to join family here in America, and those who want no more than to work, and those who aspire to being Americans, yes, I think we should grant those rights to them. Yes, I can see a type of discrimination against them, they not having equal rights for no more reason than not being born on American soil. Living on American soil should not be a crime. The boundaries of America define where principles of freedom should exist -- for all -- as opposed to being boundaries locking out and excluding good people from enjoying those freedoms here.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 21, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    "Aliens who possess no entry documents or whose documents are either fraudulently obtained or COUNTERFEIT are subject to expedited removal. So are aliens who have entered (or attempted to enter) the United States without having first been admitted by an immigration officer at a standard port of entry. Aliens have the right to make claim to legal status in the United States, or they can ask for asylum. While the INS can allow an alien to appear before an immigration judge, there is no obligation to do so, and the alien may simply be ordered removed."

    That's the law. The President has taken an oath to uphold and to EXECUTE the laws of the United States. He is not a member of the Legislative Branch which WRITES the laws. He IS a member of the Executive Branch which EXECUTES the laws passed by the Legislative Branch, laws that are in force until the Supreme Court declares them to be unconstitutional. It is NOT within the President's prerogative to decide whether a law is constitutional or unconstitutional; that is left to the Court. The President is bound to execute the laws - as written - or to be removed from office.

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Aug. 21, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    Has the war been won, the war for the undocumented immigrant? This means good people coming to America, but lacking paperwork to be here, can now be legal. Wonderful! It means that federal waiver for a guest worker program is perhaps not necessary, as the Department of Homeland Security is going to grant them work permits.

    With one broad stroke of a pen, so to speak, liberty is theirs.

    But, alas, the battle for the immigrant is not over, for the Constitution gives the right to decide naturalization to Congress, not to the executive branch. Unless Congress has passed a law (or laws) putting this in the hands of the executive branch, the matter is not settled. Napolitano did a beautiful thing only if she was within her authority.

    True, our resources belong with the nation's safety. Are they so limited we can only chase those illegal immigrants involved in drug trafficking, murder and such? Or, if truth be told, do we actually have the resources to chase a larger chunk of the undocumenteds, even if not all of them?

    I would love to think many of the undocumenteds just won their liberty, but fear Congress still has the say.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 20, 2011 11:13 p.m.

    Mike Richards,

    Yes, the president takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and to execute our laws. If Pres. Obama has crossed into impeachable territory, then every president since Carter (including Reagan and both Bushs) are guilty of the same offense. We did not get 12 million illegal aliens here overnight. I have spoken with several who have been here for more than a decade.

    BTW, every sheriff has some discretion in how and when the law is enforced.

    Lectori Salutem,

    See above.

    Also, history and the constitution show Mr. von Spakovsky is wrong about the president's ability to grant amnesty.

    From the Wikifolks: . . . the pardon power for federal crimes is granted to the President of the United States under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution which states that the President "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." The Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted this language to include the power to grant pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites and amnesties.

    Aug. 20, 2011 6:44 p.m.

    This is a lose lose situation. It rewards those who break the law, and teaches a lack of respect for the laws and others. It punishes those who follow the law, and respect their fellow man enough to do things right.

  • JBrady Murray, Ut
    Aug. 20, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    Yes DN we know you have no compassion for your fellow Utahn. They can be replaced with cheap labor can't they?

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    So what happens to the new illegal aliens that are taken in between now and the end of the year. This what the media should be asking.

    And how can these guest workers work here, when they are in violation of immigration and labor laws by displacing Americans.

    I get tired of the calls for compassion from Utah's press for those who do not know what compassion means. Yes I'm talking about the Salt Lake Chamber of commerce, and those coming here illegally.

    Can anyone tell me about the prophecy about Salt Lake city being one of the most evil cities in the world in the final days?

  • Lectori Salutem Beautiful Salt Lake Valley, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2011 3:57 p.m.

    Hans von Spakovsky, writing for the Heritage Foundation, has this to say (and I agree):

    "The President has an obligation to enforce the immigration laws passed by Congress. He does not have the authority to ignore a comprehensive federal law that he knows is constitutional. In fact, this new policy not only ignores the law, it puts the federal government in the position of helping individuals violate federal law and avoid the sanctions that Congress provided. The President has no authority to provide a general amnesty yet he (and his administration) act as if they are the law.

    "This new policy strikes at a fundamental underpinning of our nation the rule of law. It rewards illegality and lawbreakers, encourages even more aliens to enter the United States illegally, and comes at a time when President Obama has started his reelection campaign with such a low approval rating, that it is essential that he get a substantial majority of the Hispanic vote to serve a second term. It is another shameful instance of putting politics before the law."

    What hubris!

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 2:03 p.m.

    The implication that current law is unenforceable is disingenuous. I am confident that the Deseret News, and its owner, understands the law-enforcement doctrine of "deterrence by example." No, it is not necessary to simultaneously "round up" 12-50 million. What is necessary is an effective penalty for disrespectfully invading and stealing from this country: fines, imprisonment, deportation, and yes confiscation of property -- by example -- AND the understanding, on the part of the remaining 49,999,999, that the self-same thing could happen to ANY ONE OF THEM as well. Then all of a sudden you'll see foreign nationals showing a smidgen of respect for this country and its borders, sovereignty, laws, and citizens. No, enforcement has NOT been tried, in earnest, here in Utah -- what with local law enforcement's sanctuary and criminal immunity policies, for example.

    Of course discretion has its rightful place in the law. But true discretion takes place on a case-by-case basis and by confidential, intra-office memorandum. Loudly and publicly trumpeting blanket "discretion" for a MAJOR swath of lawbreakers is NOT true discretion; it is willful subversion of the law -- amnesty by fiat -- not to mention defeat of the "deterrence" doctrine.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 20, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    My aqquantance with a hotel briefly let all his illegal workers go when there were threats of empoyer sanctions. Now that it's clear there are not he is hiring illegals again.

    He's a tea-partier too - loves his SS and Medicare and doesn't want any poor people competing for government money he has "earned".

    Employer sanctions almost worked.........

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    How is it that Obama, hatred of whom has become a recreational sport in Utah, is more on board with the counsel of the LDS Church on the immigration issue than the Utah GOP is?

    Mike Richards: you seem pretty selective about "impeachable" offenses. Here Obama, who is doing far more than his predecessor did to deport illegal immigrants, is worthy of impeachment in your book. But were you calling for impeachment with each of Bush's infamous "signing statements"? Were you calling for impeachment of Reagan during the Iran Contra affair?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    The President took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and to execute the laws of this nation.

    It seems that he has just crossed the line into impeachable territory when he refused to execute the laws - as written - not as he interprets them nor as he wishes them to be.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 11:44 a.m.

    Since the Constitution no longer seems to be relevant to our times the "Utah Guest Worker Waiver" may not be far behind. Now that I think of it the Utah Guest Worker Waiver may not even be necessary since Obama is implementing it nation wide without congressional authority.

  • Emophiliac Vernal, UT
    Aug. 20, 2011 7:46 a.m.

    If there are 300,000 illegals in the court system, why are they even still here after more than a couple of days of processing? At least half of illegals entered the US from the Southern border. For them, it should take a lot to keep them from just being immediately returned to their home country. For the ones who overstayed their visas (the other half), there should also need to be proof that they have been actively working to get that situation corrected. If they just disappeared instead of going home, then again they should just be put on the bus as soon as possible. We've got 9% unemployment of legal residents and 10 to 30 million people who feel they are entitled to decide who should stay in the US. What about the other 3 billion or so that want to be here?

  • jmfay denver, co
    Aug. 20, 2011 12:34 a.m.

    What one calls discretain; another calls discrimination, abuse of authority or any number of other things.

    The point of laws is to stop anarchy. All of us with the exception of American Indians came here from legal immigration. We worked hard to get ahead and there was no entitlements then to rely on for food stamps, medicare, etc. The system today is vastly different and we are not only rewarding people who do things illegally but also incentivizing them to continue to do so.

    Obama needs to follow the law along with everyone else. He also needs to remember there are millions of out of work US citizens and legal residents. This country also allows in 1 million each of new immigrants and new visa holders to do non ag work for each of the past 10 years plus. Where are all the jobs for these people and could we prioritize our own citizens first or is that asking too much? Certainly seems that way to us.