Obama Either Ruined or Saved America: 4 Takes
President's immigration order is today's hot topic
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2014 12:01 PM CST
President Obama speaks from the White House on Thursday about immigration changes.   (AP Photo/Jim Bourg, Pool)

(Newser) – Here's a taste of the love-it or hate-it debate unfolding in the wake of President Obama's immigration speech from last night:

  • 'I, Barack': This is "a sorry day for America’s republic," declares an editorial at the Wall Street Journal. Obama's use of "prosecutorial discretion" to help 5 million people avoid deportation makes a mockery of the concept. "His 'I, Barack' immigration decree is another abuse that will roil American politics and erode public confidence in the basic precepts of self-government."
  • The 'right thing': Forget the legal and financial arguments for a moment and instead focus on the "humanity," suggests Paul Krugman at the New York Times. "My parents were able to have the lives they did because America, despite all the prejudices of the time, was willing to treat them as people. Offering the same kind of treatment to today’s immigrant children is the practical course of action, but it’s also, crucially, the right thing to do. So let’s applaud the president for doing it."

  • New Constitution? David Harsanyi at the Federalist suggests a tweak: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States—unless the president says it’s super important. Then anything goes."
  • Perfectly legal: What Obama did is "breathtaking in scope," but there's "nothing legally remarkable" about it, writes Walter Dellinger, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel, at Slate. "Wide discretion over deportation priorities has long been conferred on the executive branch by Congress, and it is being exercised in this case consistent with policies such as family unification that have been endorsed by Congress."