The New York Times reports on how Barack Obama is secretly plotting his executive orders that, supposedly, will reform immigration. The “most transparent administration in history” just got further from the public view.
When President Obama announced in June that he planned to bypass congressional gridlock and overhaul the nation’s immigration system on his own, he did so in a most public way: a speech in the White House Rose Garden.
Since then, the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency — and his most consequential use of executive power — has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view.
Mr. Obama’s increasingly expansive appetite for the use of unilateral action on issues including immigration, tax policy and gay rights has emboldened activists and businesses to flock to the administration with their policy wish lists. It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue.
The way it is now, President Obama is able to do virtually anything without feeling any pushback. He doesn’t feel anything because there is no pushback. Congressional Republicans and Senate Republicans get angry about this situation, and they sometimes condemn the president, but they don’t show much sign of truly resisting him.
The fact that Obama is using secrecy just adds insult to injury.
In some cases, the public has gotten a glimpse of the process, such as during a summit meeting on working families in June. More often, though, the talks have occurred behind the scenes. Administration officials have convened more than 20 so-called listening sessions this summer alone on executive options for revising immigration policy, a White House official said, declining to discuss the sessions in detail because the conversations were private.
How can anyone claim that a lobbyist’s requests of the Federal Government are a private matter that the public has no right to know?