Constitutional Crisis Underway? Obama To Announce Executive Action Thursday Despite Great Opposition and His Own Previous View

By Staff Reporter | Nov 19, 2014 06:05 PM EST

President Obama revealed today that he will sidestep Congress on Thursday and announce his immigration executive action plan during a primetime TV speech.

The announcement, which is expected to prevent 5 million illegal immigrant from being deported and possibly allow them to find legal work in the U.S., will be made from the White House at 8 p.m. EST, reported Fox News.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson  said on Wednesday that Obama's immigration plan will be "comprehensive" and consist of "commonsense steps."

"Legislative action is always preferable, but we've waited now for years to get Congress to act, and Congress has not acted," Johnson said during a speech at the National Press Club. Johnson added that he believes Obama's policy will fall within a "fairly wide latitude within existing executive authority to fix the system."

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"They will address a number of things, including border security," Johnson said. The "comprehensive reforms are all within our existing legal authority to fix the broken immigration system."

Still, many Republicans are skeptical of the president exercising such sweeping executive power, especially considering Obama has previously held opposing viewpoints on such immigration action.

"Well, actually, my position hasn't changed," claimed Obama this past weekend at a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 summit in Australia.

After doing some digging, however, The Washington Post blog, the Fact Checker with Glenn Kessler, came to a slightly different conclusion.

In March of 2011, Obama stated at a Univision Town Hall, "It would not be appropriate to use [executive action] just for a particular group that came here primarily, for example, because they were looking for economic opportunity."

"With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed. [...] There are enough laws on the book by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President."

Obama told Univision in January 2013, "I am not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I'm required to follow the law."

And in a February 2013 Google Hangout session, Obama said, "I'm not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed, and Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system."

"And what that means is that we have certain obligations to enforce the laws that are in place, even if we think that in many cases the results may be tragic."

Again, in a September 2013 interview with Noticias Telmundo, Obama said he does "get a little worried that advocates of immigration reform start losing heart and immediately thinking, well, somehow there's an out here-that if Congress doesn't act, we will just have the president sign something and that will take care of it, and we won't have to worry about it. What I have said is that there is a path to get this done and that is through Congress."

But now, Obama is on track to do just the opposite: bypass Congress to executively enact immigration orders.

On the The Washington Post's fact checking scale of one to Pinocchio, Obama was awarded an Upside-Down Pinocchio for his claim that he has held a steady position regarding the use of executive action for immigration.

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