In his immigration speech Thursday night, President Obama announced his intention to sign an executive order that “temporarily” (or until his term is over in January 2015) allows an estimated 4 million illegal aliens to remain in the U.S., he merely formalized what he was already doing.
He never intended to deport those 4 million illegals who stand to benefit from his order.
Where he went wrong was that, in choosing the use of an executive order, he formalized a wholesale abuse of his prosecutorial discretion and created a very public “magnet” effect that will inevitably draw even more illegals into the United States.
Opponents of the executive order have only two options with which to respond: utilize the power of the purse to defund the effort and/or challenge the legal authority on which it is based.
Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott, joined by Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt, have said that they plan to challenge Obama’s order in court.
With respect to the Congress, it can defund any effort to implement the order by passing a bill that president signs.
Since President Obama is unlikely to sign any such bill, the option is whether to shut down the government. After the political debacle of the last shutdown in 2013, Republicans probably won’t have the stomach for that.