President Barack Obama's recent decision to grant immunity to young undocumented Latinos proves that he does not want the public involved in the immigration debate.
After failing to secure meaningful reform, the president took the extraordinary step in circumventing Congress and issued an executive order deferring deportation laws calling it the "right thing to do." Though only Congress has the authority under the Constitution to define citizenship, the president -- sensing political disaster in November -- usurped congressional power to enact his own agenda.
While Latinos applaud this move, they should worry that the President's expansion of executive power sets a dangerous precedent to ignore their voice in future political debates. All too often Obama and his Democrat colleagues have demonstrated their willingness to toss aside the democratic process if the will of the people gets in the way of advancing their leftist political agenda.
We've seen numerous examples of this contempt for the legislative process throughout President Obama's time in office. After cap-and-trade was defeated in Congress, the Obama Administration had the Environmental Protection Agency rule carbon-dioxide as a pollutant so they could regulate it. And though Internet regulation laws were struck down by both Congress and the courts, the Federal Communications Commission decided it would regulate the Internet anyway.
What's most worrisome is how complicit elected officials have been in aiding Obama's executive power grab. Senator Harry Reid all but basically conceded congressional authority this week in response to Republican outcry over the change in deportation laws stating, "They don't like the timing. They should've been consulted on an issue this important. It should've been left to Congress. Being left to Congress - we've tried to do that for years and we can't because they won't let us."
Who knew that a little healthy opposition was the biggest threat to democratic process?
What's ironic about Reid's remarks is that his own bill pushing for comprehensive immigration reform was thwarted from becoming law back in 2007 not because of Republican obstructionism, but because of a key vote made by then-senator Barack Obama.
Putting his political ambitions before the well-being of the country, Obama cast the deciding vote on an amendment ending guest worker programs that effectively sank reform being championed by his opponent Senator John McCain. Sadly, the bill Obama helped kill included many of the measures the President now advocates.
The president blames everyone but himself for not getting immigration reform passed. In his speech to NALEO members this week, he chastised "a small faction" of Republicans for not passing the DREAM Act saying, "The bill hadn't changed. The need hadn't changed. The only thing that had changed was politics."
It's an astonishing statement considering the President's own role in being a roadblock to reform.
The bottom line is that if we are to achieve any meaningful and lasting immigration reform, it needs to be through a full vote of the House and Senate, not by the pen stroke of one single person. Latinos should want all voices included in the debate because their disenfranchisement only weakens the argument for reform.
Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.