King: Immigration Action Would Trigger Descent Into the Abyss

Rep. Steve King, whose entire political career is built on sowing unjustified fear through the use of hyperbole and demagoguery, told Rick Santorum, who was guest hosting for Steve Deace, that if Obama defers deportation for some immigrants America will be “descending abruptly into an abyss that we have never seen in the history of this country.”

King said that if the president were to issue such an order, he would advocate for Congress to only pass a spending bill funding the government until January “so that we could address this thing by shutting off the funding.”

“I don’t want to go down the path that would bring us to where the confrontation between Congress and Bill Clinton in 1998, but neither would I take it off the table,” King said, referring to impeachment. He then compared his strategy for confronting Obama with the president’s national security policy: “The president has said some things like no boots on the ground and the war in Afghanistan is over at the end of 2014. You don’t make those kinds of predictions and you don’t unilaterally disarm. You use all the constitutional tools at our disposal. ”

“Our constitution will be torn asunder if we let the president do this,” King continued.

“What he’s contemplating doing is the equivalent of standing up in front of America, opening up the Constitution, taking ahold of Article 1 — all of the congressional legislative authority — tearing that out and putting it in his shirt pocket and saying, ‘I’ll do the lawmaking in this country, it’s not your business, Congress.’ If we let that happen, our constitutional republic is descending abruptly into an abyss that we have never seen in the history of this country.”

You mean like when St. Ronald the Magnificent gave amnesty to millions of immigrants in 1986? Do we only descend into an abyss if a Democrat does it?

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
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  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    This country does have a long history of immigrates coming here and stealing land, kidnapping children and spreading diseases. Just ask any native american, if you can find one.

  • scienceavenger

    Do we only descend into an abyss if a Democrat does it?

    Yes. You can stop asking the question now.

  • gshelley

    Obama isn’t deporting enough people, so we will let him have even less money? I don’t think that makes sense

    To what extent can Congress specify how money should be spent? Can the specifically fund agents responsible for deporting people with families, or who have been here over a decade?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Remember, these are the same people who wanted to give the President line-item veto authority.

    OK, that was a different President.

  • wscott

    You mean like when St. Ronald the Magnificent gave amnesty to millions of immigrants in 1986?

    Um, kinda not even remotely the same thing. Reagan signed a bill passed by Congress; Obama is (maybe) planning to issue an executive order in direct defiance of Congress. Personally I happen to think Obama is right and the GOP-led Congress are stupidevilwrong. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a legitimate question about the limits of executive authority here. I hated it when Bush pulled these sort of shenanigans; the fact that I agree with Obama’s goals here doesn’t suddenly make it okay.

  • tomh

    @ #5

    In 1987 Reagan acted unilaterally to grant amnesty to family members who weren’t covered by the 1986 immigration overhaul which gave legal status to illegal immigrants. Just as Obama wants to do. In 1990 Bush Sr unilaterally granted amnesty to 1.5 million family members of immigrants who were in the US before passage of the 1986 law. You can see the timeline here. Congress later made the protections permanent. The only difference was the atmosphere in Washington.

  • Mobius

    Do we only descend into an abyss if a Democrat does it?

    No. We only descend into an abyss if a BLACK Democrat does it?

  • Kevin Kehres

    @7 Mobius

    No. We only descend into an abyss if a BLACK Democrat does it?

    FTFY.

  • Larry

    our constitutional republic is descending abruptly into an abyss that we have never seen in the history of this country

    A worser abyss than the one we descended into with gay marriage?

  • freehand

    Larry says: A worser abyss than the one we descended into with gay marriage?

    .

    Twice as much damage!

  • wscott

    @ tomh #7: from the article you linked to:

    Reagan’s and Bush’s actions were conducted in the wake of a sweeping, bipartisan immigration overhaul and at a time when “amnesty” was not a dirty word. Their actions were less controversial because there was a consensus in Washington that the 1986 law needed a few fixes and Congress was poised to act on them. Obama is acting as the country — and Washington — are bitterly divided over a broken immigration system and what to do about 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

    Thanks for proving my point for me. You’re talking about a situation where Reagan acted with full bipartisan support from Congress, and comparing it to Obama acting in direct defiance of the majority of Congress, and with at best lukewarm support from his own party. It’s a false equivalence.

  • dingojack

    The short version of Steve King.

    Dingo

  • tomh

    @ #11

    Proving your point? You claimed, “Reagan signed a bill passed by Congress; Obama is (maybe) planning to issue an executive order in direct defiance of Congress,” which is simply not true. Did you read the article, or the timeline? “Early efforts in Congress to amend the law to cover family members failed. Reagan’s Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner announced that minor children of parents granted amnesty by the law would get protection from deportation.” Unilaterally. Without authorization from Congress. By fiat. In direct defiance of Congress. Why is that hard to understand?

  • wscott

    You claimed, “Reagan signed a bill passed by Congress; Obama is (maybe) planning to issue an executive order in direct defiance of Congress,” which is simply not true.

    My original comment was referring to the 1986 Immigration Reform Act; Reagan’s subsequent executive action merely amended the implementation of that Act. Sorry if my wording could’ve been more clear.

    Without authorization from Congress… In direct defiance of Congress.

    Yes to the first, but no to the second. The 1986 amnesty bill passed with fairly broad bipartisan support. Afterwards, there were concerns about splitting up families when some family members qualified for amnesty and others didn’t. Congress couldn’t immediately agree on a fix, so the next year Reagan implemented rules to address the problem. I don’t know how you can claim it was “in direct defiance of Congress” when the Senate voted 81-17 the very next year to make the changes official. (Tho the House failed to act either way.)

    .

    So to recap: in 1986, Congress passes immigration reform with fairly broad bipartisan support, but the law has some unintended consequences. Congress can’t make up its mind quickly, so the President takes executive action to fix that “bug” by clarifying how the law will be implemented. There is no serious opposition, and in fact the Senate votes the next year to endorse the President’s action.

    .

    Today we have: Immigration reform is a controversial and deeply partisan issue. The party that controls both houses of Congress is adamantly opposed to any kind of amnesty, while the minority party is, let’s be honest, kinda lukewarm on the subject. The House has repeatedly acted to block any kind of amnesty, and everyone knows full well that the new Senate will do the same in January. Having failed for years to get immigration reform through Congress – even when his party controlled both houses – the President issues an Executive Order for a policy that Congress has already specifically rejected. Preview of coming attractions: as its first order of business in January, the new Congress immediately acts to overturn the President’s action and the other I-word (impeachment) gets thrown around a lot.

    .

    If you really can’t see the difference between these two scenarios from a Constitutional perspective, then I give up on you. Whatever you think about immigration, and even if you think Obama is right and justified in taking this action, comparing it to what Reagan did is simply a false equivalence.

  • tomh

    “Reagan’s subsequent executive action merely amended the implementation of that Act.”

    At least you admit that Reagan acted unilaterally, just as Obama may do. As Bush, Sr. also did. As just about every president has done when they issue executive orders.

    “I don’t know how you can claim it was “in direct defiance of Congress””

    The same way you can claim Obama is in direct defiance of Congress when Congress has taken no position on the issue. A lot of blowhards have spouted off to the press, that’s hardly an official position.

    “Immigration reform is a controversial and deeply partisan issue.”

    So what? The president shouldn’t take action on any issue that is controversial? Executive actions go back to Lincoln – they’re often controversial.

    “… the President issues an Executive Order for a policy that Congress has already specifically rejected.”

    “Congress” has not specifically rejected it, Republicans in the House refused to take it up. Again, so what? Let them pass an immigration bill, then when the President vetoes it, he’ll be in “direct defiance” of Congress.

    “Preview of coming attractions: as its first order of business in January, the new Congress immediately acts to overturn the President’s action and the other I-word (impeachment) gets thrown around a lot.”

    I doubt that either of those things will happen.

    “If you really can’t see the difference between these two scenarios from a Constitutional perspective”

    Constitutional? Seriously? Do you really think the fact that the issue is controversial now and wasn’t when Reagan did the same thing makes it a constitutional issue? You’re talking politics, not the Constitution. It was constitutional when Reagan did it and the Constitution hasn’t changed since then. Just the politics in Washington have changed.