Monday, 18 June 2012

Tortured Logic: Immigration Edition

I promise I'll get round to posting something that isn't about American politics soon (I wanted to have my article on the Game of Thrones S2 finale by now, but Sky Go had other ideas), but this one was just too good to pass up: Obama has decided to not deport 80 000 800 000-odd illegal immigrants - on the basis that they were kids when they came to the US, and have lived here ever since - and mighty constitutional scholar John Yoo is outraged:
So what we have here is a president who is refusing to carry out federal law simply because he disagrees with Congress’s policy choices. That is an exercise of executive power that even the most stalwart defenders of an energetic executive — not to mention the Framers — cannot support.

This, for those who don't know, is the John Yoo who went on the Daily Show and argued with a straight face that the president has the authority to crush the testicles of people he's arbitrarily had detained.  It's also the same John Yoo who argued in a document that was never supposed to see the light of day that the president has the authority to intentionally deceive Congress if he judges it necessary.

In the Yooniverse, then, the following is an outrageous violation of presidential power.
  1. Tell justice department to not deport a given subset of illegal immigrants;
On the other hand, this would be entirely OK:
  1. Tell Congress that a given subset of illegal immigrants are terrorists working to destroy America;
  2. Refuse to say how or why this is the case;
  3. Round up given subset of illegal immigrants and hold them indefinitely without charge;
  4. Define the area in which they are to be confined to as the entire country.
Isn't that how it works?  Or does it not count unless some guy gets his testicle crushed?

(To be serious for a moment, I'm not entirely sure what Obama's proposed is actually legal, though that's my obvious lack of specialist knowledge talking, not informed doubt.  Either way, I',not willing to accept Yoo as an authority here, nor am I remotely persuaded by his argument (echoed by others) that this is setting a dangerous precedent, mainly because this sort of thing has already been done. And by Republican presidents, no less.  Which reminds us once again that there's nothing the Republican Party screams about longer and louder about than the Democrats adopting their tactics.)

Update: My thanks to Dan for pointing out my idiotic mis-spelling of Yoo's name for the first half of the post.  I've fixed it now.


Dan Edmunds said...

Is it not John Yoo rather than John Woo (the film Director)?

SpaceSquid said...

How strange! I switch back to the right spelling halfway through, but I don't know how I did that.

Actually, I do. I specifically told myself to make damn sure I didn't make that mistake, and this clearly affected my subconscious.