Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, leading immigration advocate Marielena Hincapié explained President Barack Obama’s flip-flopping on the legality of his executive action by saying he was so committed to working with Congress on immigration reform he had to lie about his inability to change policy on his own.
The hearing, called to examine the constitutionality of the president’s executive action, kicked off with a four-and-a-half minute video compilation of every time Obama said he couldn’t reform the immigration system on his own.
For example: “I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself,” he said in 2011, “but that’s not how democracy works. See democracy is hard, but it’s right. Changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds, and changing votes, one by one.” (RELATED: Obama Has The Power To Grant Amnesty, Says Obama’s ICE Director Nominee)
Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, was asked by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner why the president, after saying on at least 22 separate occasions he did not have the power to do what he did, “he did a 180.”
“Unfortunately I think the president was talking politics,” she began. “He made those comments, much to our dismay, because we believed for many years now that the president did, and does in fact have the legal authority. The president on a number of those occasions was specifically talking about immigration reform–he has been so focused on getting immigration reform done with Congress that he continually told the immigrant rights community that he could not do immigration reform.”
At this point Rep. Sensenbrenner cut Hincapié off and asked Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, the same question.
“I think the president was correct when he said he could not make the law or change the law,” Sekulow said. “He was speaking correctly. I think when he made the statement that he has changed the law, he recognized also that he did something–he thought he changed the law. He doesn’t think, by the way, that it was simply a policy decision, he stated he changed the law, and I don’t–as I said in my testimony, Congressman, I don’t believe there’s anybody on this Committee that believes that the president has the authority to change the law. He knew he did not when he made the statement 22 times, and then he changed the law. He doesn’t get to do that.”