I think there’s some merit in Charles Lane’s comparison of a hypothetical executive order from President Obama
offering up to 5 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and others the same two-year renewable reprieves from deportation plus work permits that Obama already ordered for undocumented residents who arrived as children
with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. It would simultaneously be an act of mercy and politically expedient; he would be exceeding his powers and, consequently, courting impeachment.
However, the analogy fails if the actual circumstances of each are taken into account. There is no comparison between illegal economic migrants and slaves. The economic migrants are free to return to their countries of origin, mostly Mexico. Additionally, the analogy fails to take into account the Emancipation Proclamation’s function as a tactic to end the American Civil War.
It would be a much closer analogy if, rather than a civil war, the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued to quell a slave rebellion. What do you think would have happened if there had been no civil war and President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation during a slave rebellion?