Mr. President, I rise today to express my opposition to the President’s plan to grant executive amnesty to four to five million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.
By circumventing Congress on immigration and instituting his will through executive actions, President Obama is eroding the very foundation of our country and form of government. This sets a dangerous precedent where future presidents can flout any law they happen to disagree with and alter the law without going through Congress. Each branch of government is to act as a check against the others and not sit idly by as one exercises authority it does not have. A constitutional law professor should know that.
I think we all agree that our immigration system is broken - both the legal system which allows individuals to visit and work in our country and the failures which continue to allow others to reside illegally within our borders. The first step we need to take to fix our system is to secure our borders and bolster interior enforcement. We cannot reduce illegal immigration without better border security and entry/exit enforcement measures. We also need to ensure that we have a strong, workable employment verification system in place because if Congress can ensure that only authorized job seekers gain employment in this country, then we remove the incentive for illegal immigration. But in fixing our immigration system, we cannot grant those who are here illegally amnesty.
Yet this week the President intends to circumvent the will of Congress by illegally granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. This cannot stand. The American people don’t want it, some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have advocated against it, and the President himself has said more than twenty times that he does not have the authority to take this action. I am certain that the Republicans in the Senate will take action on this issue next year when we become the majority, and I look forward to being a part of that cause.
But I must be clear: this is part of a much larger fight. I know all of my colleagues remember the unconstitutional NLRB recess appointments the President made in 2012. In that case, the Supreme Court rejected his move, but it hasn’t stopped the President from pushing forward in other ways. This year he proposed a cap and tax proposal through regulation that Congress has already rejected, and I know my colleagues from coal producing states intend to fight that EPA rule with me. I also know my colleagues from Western states intend to join me in fighting the EPA’s proposed rule that could allow the Administration to regulate all bodies of water, no matter how small, and regardless of whether the water is on public or private property.
These are just a few examples of this President’s executive overreach, and this week’s action is the latest step too far. I will continue to fight executive overreach, including amnesty by executive order, whether by targeting rampant, unaccountable federal spending, working to reverse illegal executive orders with legitimate federal laws, or using the Congressional Review Act to reject the President’s actions. I will be looking closely at every option.
Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor.