“President Obama has said over twenty times that he would not circumvent Congress and the will of the people to create his own immigration law,” reported Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) Wednesday morning.
Arguments that Obama’s unilateral actions will assist in reforming the U.S. immigration system are gravely flawed. Granting amnesty plays no part in reforming our broken immigration system. Our policy will still be broken after his actions, only there will be nearly five million illegal individuals pardoned.
The president will deliver a speech at 8 p.m. Eastern Time tonight, outlining his plan of action. Friday, he will fly to Las Vegas, home to the densest portion of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., where he will sign the executive papers. He will visit Del Sol high school, the same school he visited two years ago where he discussed his opinions on comprehensive immigration reform.
His speech will undoubtedly be met by a political tirade as Republicans respond to his unilateral actions.
“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for congressional action on the issue and many others,” Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel stated Wednesday.
Apparently Steel – and numerous other Republicans – aren’t looking at the situation with the same point of view as Obama. In a Facebook post yesterday where Obama announced his immigration action plans, he said that he is finally going to take action “to make the system work better even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem.”
Wait, doesn’t this mean he is going to sidestep Congress and take matters into his own hands? Democrats have even been somewhat anxious, especially since the White House announced in September that the president would put off his executive action plans until after the election, which many argue created a complication in getting Democrats elected. And now the Republicans have Senate control going into the 114th Congress next year, a 53 seat majority – perhaps even a 54 seat lead after Louisiana’s runoff in December.
An NBC and Wall Street Journal poll found that 63 percent of Democrats support Obama’s maneuver while a measly 11 percent of Republicans fall in line with it. It also discovered that out of Americans, 48 percent oppose the action, 38 percent agree with it and 14 percent are undecided. The Republican arguments opposing Obama have continued to flood in.
On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made his case in a Politico op-ed, declaring that if the President goes forward with this, he “will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch.” Cruz pushed harder, “If the president announces executive amnesty, the new Senate majority leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee –executive or judicial – outside of vital national security positions, as long as the illegal amnesty persists.”
Passing a short-term spending bill could certainly further Republicans’ attempts to stop the president. Cruz argued that individual appropriations bills could be passed that would authorize only the most crucial government functions, thus disassembling the president’s power to grant amnesty.
Also Wednesday, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) fought the president in a letter stating, “Instead of proceeding with ill-advised executive action, we implore you to work with Congress to enact legislation to address our broken immigration system.”
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) advocated last week that Congress should use the power of the purse to stop the president. It must start with a short-term bill that, rather than spanning through most of next year, only lasts through the beginning of 2015.
Sessions contended that just because the Democrats have control in the Senate through the rest of the year, they “shouldn’t be entitled to bind the country next year when we’ve got a new Congress.”
A bill must be passed to fund the government beyond December 11 or a government shutdown will occur, and most do not want to repeat last year’s 16-day shutdown fiasco.
Poised for Obama’s action tonight, the Republicans are still uncertain of their next move. However, the potential spending bill could take on one of two forms: it could pass a continuing resolution (CR) and fully fund the government, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which controls immigration, or it could provide a short-term determination, placing limits on DHS while providing continuing levels of funding for the rest of the government.
Anticipated succeeding chairman of the House Budget Committee, Representative Tom Price (R-GA), has expressed his support of the latter option.
After passing a short-term spending bill, Republicans could additionally pass legislation rescinding funding that Obama would need for his executive actions, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) proposed in a GOP Capitol Hill meeting Tuesday. Of course, the president would be able to veto the legislation placed in front of him.
Although tonight will bring the president’s address, Republicans will probably have to deal a strong blow with a spending bill, preferably a short-term one that will cut some of his authority. Regardless of what Obama argues, his executive plans to grant amnesty do not help reform our immigration system. What we need is a comprehensive plan to fix our broken policies. Obama has stated before that he was not placed into office to overstep laws “on the books,” yet he is doing it now. Rather than serving the American people, he is doing what only a minority of them support. Our nation has messed up by not enforcing its immigration laws and the next step to take is not one that includes again ignoring laws already in place.