By Joe Guzzardi
January 16, 2015
After months of posturing, the Republican-controlled House finally stepped up to end President Obama’s executive immigration actions. In two separate amendments to the Department of Homeland Security spending bill, the House approved measures to block funding for Obama’s November executive directives, void former ICE director John Morton’s prosecutorial discretion memos, and to also bar further funding for Obama’s 2012 deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA).
The memos are named after former Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton, and grant officials prosecutorial discretion which allows them to suspend deportations. Since its inception, DACA has provided temporary legal status and work permission to about 600,000 aliens who allegedly came unknowingly to the U.S. as young children with their parents.
The twin House victories, which would also bar illegal immigrants protected by Obama’s November action from receiving federal benefits, are only the first step. Although the House has taken a refreshingly pro-active, anti-amnesty stance, bigger battles loom. The Senate and a presidential veto represent imposing obstacles.
Immediately after the vote, Senator Jeff Sessions addressed his upper chamber colleagues to warn them about the seriousness of the issue they would soon face—curtailing Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty. Obama’s failures are more than just his refusal to enforce immigration law. The president’s unilateral edicts provide unlawful immigrants with work permits at a time when 92 million Americans are not participating in the labor market, and will also allow them to access Social Security and Medicare at taxpayer expense.
Sessions encouraged his peers to ask “to whom do you owe your allegiance? To party leaders, to donors, to the citizens of other countries or to the American citizens who elected you and the Constitution that protects their rights?”
Before Republicans left for Hershey, Pennsylvania on their two-day retreat, Sessions provided them with a 25-page handbook summary of his key anti-amnesty talking points in which he urged Congress not to allocate a single dime to Obama’s overreach. Sessions based his examples on the near-total enforcement collapse, the federal deficit and the weak economy, all of which would be exacerbated should illegal immigrants get work authorization and access to federal benefits.
The House vote set off the predictable reaction from staunch immigration advocates. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez issued a press release which claimed that the GOP wants to “deport every single undocumented immigrant it can get its hands on,” and threatened that Republicans would pay at the voting booth, although the November elections proved that’s not the case. The GOP campaigned and won on enforcement.
Even though there are dozens of congressional Republicans who support Obama’s plan to let illegal immigrants stay, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Gutierrez is right: all Republicans want “every single” illegal immigrant deported.
Gutierrez and other pro-immigration lobbyists insist that enforcing immigration law is a gross injustice when, in fact, it’s consistent with legislation Congress passed and enacted. Furthermore, legal immigration into the U.S. is a privilege, and should be advantageous to citizens.
Obama’s so called comprehensive immigration reform doesn’t benefit Americans or legal immigrants. The perks go to those who knowingly broke U.S. laws and who stand to be rewarded for their transgressions.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]