I don’t think Texas Democrat Representative Ruben Gallego (D-TX) expected to have to defend his party, or President Obama, when he said yes to appearing on MSNBC earlier this afternoon.
MSNBC is supposed to be a “safe space” for Democrat politicians to bash Republicans, spew talking points, and pat themselves on the back. Sadly, for Gallego, anchor Craig Melvin was having none of it on Thursday.
Melvin took the Texas Democrat and President Obama to task over their attempts to smear President Trump as the bad guy in the DACA debate, when the truth is that President Obama’s DACA order was unconstitutional. It was a not so veiled attempt at circumventing the legislature who had already voted the DREAM Act down some 12 different times!
First, Melvin explains that lower courts have ruled that DACA was illegal and that it forced law enforcement to NOT enforce the laws.
MELVIN: Congressman, the merits of DACA notwithstanding, it essentially became a law that was never passed by the branch charged with making laws. Several lower courts have said that it was illegal. DACA was supposed to be a placeholder. So, how would keeping this program in place, which means basically not enforcing the law, how would that be an acceptable solution?
GALLEGO: Well, let’s be clear. This, DACA, and the constitutionality of DACA, has been backed up before. We have seen this happen with different TPS procedures, whether it was for Cubans or for Haitians, or for other huge communities. DACA never gave status in terms of [a] pathway to citizenship to any DACA recipients, all it did was say that they were not going to be prosecuted — something that, again has been proved by the court of law. What the president did is essentially, really, pass the buck. Again, show[ing] he has zero leadership ability. Instead of making a decision to continue this program and not create the instability that he could create, he decided to pass the buck and throw it to Congress.
Gallego is wrong right from the start, Melvin already reminded him that several courts have ruled against the constitutionality of DACA. Secondly, while DACA doesn’t give the “Dreamers” a path to citizenship, it forces our law enforcement to ignore our laws.
Finally, Gallego tries to blame this mess on Trump “passing the buck” to Congress… but Melvin is quick to remind him that this kind of thing is supposed to be what Congress does!
MELVIN: But shouldn’t it be Congress? Shouldn’t it have been Congress all along that solved this dilemma?
GALLEGO: Well sure, but let’s remember that we did try to do that, and the reason the DREAM Act came in as an executive order is because it failed back in the day, and it did not get through the Senate. So this is not something that, ideally, we wanted, but it was establish law. Another problem that we have right now is that President Trump just kicked this to Congress without any idea of what he would be willing to sign or not.
MELVIN: But Congressman, you can see that the DREAM Act failed more than a dozen times. I mean lawmakers in both chambers have taken this up more than a dozen times and it has failed every time.
GALLEGO: Yes. Again, and that is why the executive order was in place after failing so many times to make sure that people had protection from deportation.
Gallego immediately admits that Melvin is right, and that Congress did fail to pass the DREAM Act, before somehow blaming Trump again. Melvin doesn’t let up though and he reminds Gallego that it was Congress that failed to pass the DREAM Act on more than a dozen different opportunities, so this is Congress’ “failure,” not Trump’s.
Again, Gallego demurs and argues that this is why the Executive Order was “needed.”
And this is where Melvin slams the door on Gallego’s terrible argument. The MSNBC anchor explains to the Congressman that this is the whole point of the separation of powers. If Congress votes no on something, this doesn’t mean that the President gets to issue an executive order saying yes. It means that the representatives of the people have said “No.”
MELVIN: But should that be what executive orders do? Should executive orders essentially be end-runs around the Legislative Branch? If elected lawmakers have said “no,” then why should the President of the United States be able to say “yes”?
GALLEGO: Well, because it is within his constitutional duties and responsibilities if he wants to choose to do that. And at the same time, we were talking about a population of 800,000 to 1.2 million people that were facing deportation and President Obama decided to do that. Now, should Congress always act? Absolutely. We’d love to act first, but there are many instances outside of just immigration where the presidency does have power and uses that because of Congress’ inaction. But hopefully that will stop. Let’s see if Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will follow up with their words and what other senators are saying and pass a bipartisan bill to protect these DREAMers.
We’ve already established that the order is not constitutional, particularly because Congress rejected the same law 12 different times. And as Melvin explained earlier what President Obama did with DACA was simply refuse to enforce the laws that our legislature had created, not because they were illegal but because he didn’t like them.
It’s terrifying to think that a member of Congress needs to have a TV News anchor explain to him how our Constitutional government is designed, but Gallego is a leftwing Democrat, so I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised.
Here’s the video of their exchange: