If the Obama administration is serious about working with Congress to reform America’s immigration system, it has a strange way of showing it.
Last April, Eric H. Holder, leader of America’s premier federal law enforcement agency and the only sitting Cabinet member ever to be held in contempt of Congress, declared: “Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is absolutely essential. This is a matter of civil and human rights.”
In January, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson concluded that awarding U.S. citizenship to illegal immigrants is “frankly, in my judgment, a matter of who we are as Americans.”
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez’s public career has been marked by efforts to dismantle immigration-enforcement measures. Last month, Vice President Joe Biden declared: “You know, 11 million people that [sic] are living in the shadows. I believe they’re already American citizens.” Perpetual presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently praised as “incredibly brave” a self-professed illegal immigrant who said it is “extremely difficult to empower myself to get a job, to vote.”
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to provide a “uniform rule of naturalization.” The immigration laws lay out the blueprint by which noncitizens may become Americans. As the Supreme Court has recognized, “Drawing upon this power and upon the inherent power of a sovereign to close its borders, Congress has developed a complex scheme governing admission to our Nation and status within our borders.”