Abdication Through Enforcement
Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 96 (2020 Forthcoming)
41 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 10, 2020
Presidential abdication in immigration law has long been synonymous with the nonenforcement of certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. President Obama’s never-implemented program of deferred action, known as DAPA, serves as the prime example in the literature. But can the President abdicate his duty of faithful execution in immigration law by enforcing the law, i.e., by deporting deportable noncitizens? This Article argues “yes.” Every leading theory of the presidency recognizes the President’s role as supervisor of the bureaucracy, an idea crystallized by several scholars. When the President fails to establish meaningful enforcement priorities, essentially making every deportable noncitizen a priority, and resources for enforcement are insufficient to achieve full enforcement, he de facto delegates that discretion to the rank-and-file without requisite constraints. In so doing, he abdicates his supervisory role, producing abdication through enforcement.
Keywords: duty to supervise, abdication, faithful execution, Take Care Clause, immigration enforcement discretion, enforcement priorities, deportation, zero tolerance, de facto delegation
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