Biden: No Deportations for 100 Days, and Only Felonies Thereafter

Whatever happened to 'faithfully execute'?

By Andrew R. Arthur on March 17, 2020
  • Joe Biden stated in a debate on Sunday night that he would not deport any alien during his first 100 days in office, and then only those who have committed felonies in the United States thereafter.
  • This raises three questions: (1) How does he define "felony"? (2) Will he simply ignore the immigration law as it relates to any number of other dangerous criminals who are currently removable? And (3) Why exactly does he want aliens with foreign convictions for heinous offenses like murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, and drug trafficking to be able to enter and remain in the United States?
  • His statement is inconsistent with what would be his oath of office, as well as the "take care" provision in the U.S. Constitution.

In Sunday night's debate on CNN and Univision with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to push for amnesty and vowed to halt all deportations for the first 100 days of his administration — thereafter only deporting aliens for felonies committed in the United States. This time, he is plagiarizing himself, with a likely inadvertent twist, and promising in advance to violate his oath of office.

Here is his statement:

I will send to the desk immediately a bill that requires access to citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks, number one. Number two, the first hundred days of my administration, no one, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.

If that statement sounds familiar, it is basically a riff on a statement that he made in late February, which I reported in a February 25 post captioned: "Joe Biden Moratorium on Deportations in First 100 Days: Ignorance or indifference by the press? They don't know and they don't care". In addition to no deportations for the first 100 days of his administration, a Biden campaign adviser at that time explained "that under his Administration, enforcement efforts will be narrowly targeted to those who commit a felony offense in the United States or who present a national security threat."

Biden is famous for plagiarism, so the repeat of the 100-days promise is nothing new, for him or his campaign. He likely forgot the part about "those who present a national security threat" (I hope). It does raise three questions, however.

First, how does he define "felony"? The way that it is defined under federal law, as an offense for which the sentence is more than one year? What about states that have different definitions of felonies, or a crime that is defined as a misdemeanor under state law, but for which the sentence imposed is more than a year? These are not idle musings, because Biden's statements have faint echoes of the dangerous Democratic New Way Forward Act, which I dissected in a February 19, 2020, Backgrounder.

And apart from the criminal grounds for removal of legal residents, Biden has said elsewhere that even illegal immigrants should only be removed if they have committed a felony, and that "I don't count drunk driving as a felony."

Two, what about all of the current offenses that would render an alien removable from the United States, set forth in section 237(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), that are not felonies? Depending on how you define "felony", those could include any number of violent crimes, drug offenses, and firearms convictions. Would President Joe Biden simply allow those criminal aliens off the hook, with a tousle of the hair and a "Get out of here, you scamp"?

Three, what about an alien who is convicted of, say, murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a child outside of the United States? Are the grounds of inadmissibility in section 212(a)(2) of the INA no longer going to apply? Why, exactly, would we want a cartel member with a long list of foreign drug-trafficking convictions to be allowed to remain in this country?

The oath of office is set forth in Article II, section 1, clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and it states: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Article II, section 3 states that the president "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

These are not old words on a dusty piece of paper. They are the very essence of who we are as a people, and that ours is "A government of laws, and not of men", as John Adams put it. The people's representatives write the laws, and if the laws are bad, they should be repealed — their enforcement should not simply be ignored by the person who swears to enforce them.

In this case, that is what Biden promises he will do — he is telling the American people ahead of time that he will take the oath, but not really mean it.

Topics: Politics