The Constitutional Republic
The Policy Structure
In contemplating the architecture of power within the federal government, one cannot overlook the salience of executive orders emanating from the highest echelons of the Executive Office. Particularly in an administration overseeing more than 430 agencies, these decrees wield considerable influence and merit our focused attention. The trio of Executive Orders 14010, 14011, and 14012, issued by President Biden on February 2, 2021, delineate a nuanced approach to address immigration challenges, underpinned by a humanitarian and integrative ethos, setting the stage for a dialogue between the branches of government and pertinent departments.
Executive Order 14010 aims at creating a comprehensive regional framework to manage migration in North and Central America, and ensure safe and orderly processing of asylum seekers at the United States border. 1, 2. The President’s directive towards a review of previous orders, particularly the Title 42 Order from October 2020, underscores a departure from stringent border policies, in quest of a balanced and humane approach. 3.
Executive Order 14011 establishes an Inter-agency Task Force on the Reunification of Families. Chaired by the Secretary of Homeland Security and Vice Chaired by the Secretary of State, this task force manifests an earnest endeavor to redress the human tragedy ensued from family separations at the border. 4, 5, 6. The directive for progress reports every 60 days post-establishment reflects a commitment to transparency and accountability. 7.
Executive Order 14012 seeks to restore faith in the legal immigration systems of the US, emphasizing an inclusive integration effort for new Americans. 8, 9. It resonates with a broader vision of making the naturalization process more accessible and welcoming, portraying a shift towards a more inclusive immigration paradigm. 10.
These Executive Orders collectively orchestrate a multilateral approach involving the President, Congress, and key departments like Homeland Security, State, and Health and Human Services. While the President catalyzes these initiatives through executive orders, Congress plays a cardinal role in legislating and overseeing the implementation of these directives. The Department of Homeland Security emerges as a pivotal player, especially in family reunification and border management, while the Department of State and Health and Human Services also play crucial roles in these concerted efforts to reform the immigration landscape.
This orchestration epitomizes a philosophical endeavor to reconcile the rule of law with the humanitarian imperatives of our times, embedding a dialogue that transcends the rigid dichotomies of policy and explores the nuanced interplay of governance in addressing complex immigration issues.
Division Of Labor
In the fabric of American governance, the delineation and interplay among the President, Congress, and key departments like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of State (DOS), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are pronounced, especially in the sphere of immigration policy as showcased by recent Executive Orders 14010, 14011, and 14012.
The President: Steering the executive branch, the President acts as the dynamo in policy formulation and implementation. Executive Orders serve as instruments for the President to outline the administrative ethos and strategic framework for immigration policies. The recent Executive Orders signify a collaborative approach to navigate complex immigration issues, embodying a humanistic and integrative spirit.
Congress: The crucible of legislative power, Congress wields the authority to create, amend, and nullify laws concerning immigration, alongside its duty of oversight to ensure executive actions resonate with legislative intent and constitutional bounds. Through hearings, appropriations, and legislations, Congress partakes in a dialogic process with the executive branch and respective departments, molding the broader narrative of immigration policy.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Entrusted with the preservation of America’s frontiers and the enforcement of immigration laws, DHS is crucial in actualizing the President’s immigration directives. For example, the Secretary of Homeland Security leads the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families as per Executive Order 14011, signifying its role in humane border management and family reunification.
Department of State (DOS): As America’s foreign policy spearhead, DOS orchestrates diplomatic dialogues impacting immigration. By interfacing with foreign entities and international bodies, DOS influences external factors affecting migration and asylum-seeking processes. In Executive Order 14011, the Secretary of State, as Vice Chair of the Task Force, exemplifies DOS’s role in the global aspect of immigration policies.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Though less overtly engaged, HHS is vital in the well-being and assimilation of immigrants, overseeing the health and human services rendered to them, aligning with the larger objectives of humane treatment and inclusive integration as iterated in Executive Order 14012.
This orchestration of roles, reflective of a polyphonic governance model, purports to harmonize the rule of law with the humanistic principles of immigration policy. However, lurking beneath this collaborative facade is the menacing threat of corruption within these pivotal agencies and positions, presenting a perilous potential. The division of labor and hierarchy, although designed to streamline operations, may serve as a veil for malpractices, obfuscating the nefarious deeds of those entrenched in power. The alarming reality is that the President and these agencies can morph into dangerous entities if corrupted, wielding their substantial influence to perpetrate harm rather than uphold justice.
The ostensibly benign bureaucratic compartments could serve as fertile grounds for corruption to thrive, unchecked and unchallenged. Thus, the philosophical endeavor extends beyond fostering a cooperative governance ethos; it necessitates a stringent vigilance and unwavering transparency to safeguard the integrity of governance. The narrative of immigration policy, laden with complexities, requires a vigilant populace and an accountable administration to navigate the delicate balance between administrative pragmatism and moral imperative. In the unfolding discourse of immigration, the pernicious grasp of corruption threatens to undermine the constitutional republican fabric, making the quest for integrity and accountability not merely philosophical but a pressing exigency.
The process of budget allocation for federal agencies like the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, carries inherent vulnerabilities to corruption at various stages. Here is an overview of the process with an eye on potential corrupt practices:
- Budget Formulation:
- The Department of State, DHS, and HHS initially draft their budget requests based on operational needs and strategic goals. There’s potential here for corrupt influences to skew these proposals, whether through overestimation of needs or by catering to particular interest groups.
- Submission to OMB:
- The proposals are sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Corruption might manifest in undue influence or lobbying efforts aimed at swaying the OMB’s assessment in favor of certain budget allocations.
- Presidential Budget Request:
- The President, through the OMB, consolidates these requests into a comprehensive budget which is then sent to Congress. The potential for corruption lies in the possibility of political considerations unduly shaping the budget, at the expense of objective operational needs.