Bypassing Congress, again

We’re confused by President Barack Obama’s statement on Monday that he’s prepared to move forward on immigration reform by bypassing Congress and doing it himself.

We thought Obama was already doing everything without Congress. He has repeatedly changed major portions of the Affordable Health Care Act without consulting Congress. In the recent past, Obama has said he will act on a host of other subjects without Congress, including gun control, jobs and recess appointments. Throwing immigration reform onto his pile of Congressional bypasses doesn’t surprise anyone.

Obama said Monday that’s he’s frustrated by Congress’ lack of action on immigration reform. “If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours,” the president said in an Associated Press story. It’s the fault of Republicans, of course, the president said, although there’s usually enough blame to share among Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., these days.

The president will have a hard time succeeding on his promises of aggressive steps on immigration, and it will be difficult to please those who want massive shifts in policy to protect millions of immigrants in the United States illegally from deportation.

Obama said Monday that he does recognize his presidential authority is limited, although those clear limits haven’t stopped him from bypassing Congress on previous occassions. We don’t expect him to be concerned about those limits this time either. But serious immigration reform is much bigger than one person, even if that person is Barack Obama.