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Congressman: Obama Runs End-Around on Immigration Law

Sensenbrenner says bureaucrats get too much say in who stays and who goes.

Last week, the Obama Administration surprisingly announced a new immigration policy that effectively circumvents Congress’ legislative authority in order to extend amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants. Although Congress has rejected time and again amnesty legislation, this policy will allow some illegal immigrants to stay and work in the United States by administrative fiat.

Under this new decision, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Homeland Security officials will choose to allow some illegal immigrants currently involved in deportation cases to remain in the US. The administration plans to review 300,000 cases and waive the deportation of some individuals who have clean or minor criminal records beyond their illegal immigration status.

This new policy is an unacceptable abuse of presidential power, and it is an extension of this administration’s contempt for our immigration laws.

Last year, Congress rejected legislation that would have extended amnesty to certain illegal immigrants, many of whom fit the same profile of this waiver. With this announcement, President Obama clearly indicated that he is willing to ignore Congressional legislative action to achieve his own agenda.

According to ICE Director John Morton, “One of ICE's central responsibilities is to enforce the nation's civil immigration laws.” But intentionally excusing illegal immigration for some individuals does the opposite: this decision ignores our immigration laws.

Immigrants whose cases are waived could also be offered the opportunity to apply for a visa or work permit and remain working in the United States.

With 9 percent unemployment and millions still looking for work, this immigration plan seems to prioritize allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to stay and work here. This is an affront to Americans and legal immigrants who are counting on this president to focus on growing the economy and help employers create much-needed jobs.

Additionally alarming is the broad discretion given to bureaucrats when deciding which deportation cases should be waived. Based on a variety of vague factors, officials reviewing a case can decide whether to cancel the deportation proceedings. 

Consider the hundreds and thousands of individuals who wait in line — often for many years — for the opportunity to immigrate to America. Now, the President has decided to move some individuals, who have already broken our immigration laws, to the front of the line.

This is unfair and unwise policy. It signals that our immigration laws are to be ignored, and we have given up attempting to enforce them. The policy undermines the rule of law, is a blatant disregard for the constitutional separation of powers, and in effect, rewards lawbreakers.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have worked to secure our nation’s borders and hold both this and previous administrations accountable for their actions on immigration. We are a country of immigrants, and we are a nation of laws. It is the president’s constitutional responsibility to see that his administration enforces these laws.

paul peck September 11, 2011 at 01:45 PM
jay...when I design a consumer product as an industrial designer, I often have corporate leadership show me examples of what they want that clearly cannot work, and I will have engineers that will tell me things that have to be included that the CEOs do not want, and a legal department that will show me product liability lawsuits that prove what the engineers say cannot work, and receive marketing reports on consumer behavior that show everyone else is wrong, and feedback from focus groups that prove the marketing people are wrong. If I take all these problems separately, I may create something that works but is like a frankenstein....maybe a working creature but maybe still a monster. sometimes the approach taken by the Apollo project works....mission focused. to go to the moon, many advancements needed to be made in computers, intranets, materials advancements, mission coordination, engineering data, manufacturing efforts, etc. Sometimes an elegant solution results from a mission focused effort rather than trying to address each issue isolation. If there were a missioned focused effort to address sustainable energy and water issues in america's southwest, boarder security and immigration would be part of the social capital equation, if included into a mission focused effort, beneficial changes would result. I suggest immigration would benefit from this type of strategy that is historically successful.
Lyle Ruble September 11, 2011 at 02:51 PM
@paul peck....What I criticize, we as a nation focus on specifics and not on a comprehensive "bigger picture". As you have stated we have such a fragmented view that we are incapacitated by the details and all the special interests. We as a people have ignored one warning after another and probably will continue to turn a blind eye until it becomes a crisis. Based on the availability and distribution of natural resources, out nation is probably 2/3s larger in population than that which is sustainable. Globally our population could be sustained at about 1.5 to 2.5 billion. We are like a bacterial colony growing to the point where our own toxic waste and availability of food resources becomes a limiting factor to the growth and survival of the colony population. We can either address the problems voluntarily or forced to involuntarily deal with the consequences. One must confront the question, what price is survivability.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 03:07 PM
thats a good thing to criticize lyle. One of the "Big Picture" things that I have an issue with is that North America has more arable land than any other nation. India is second and takes in more refugees each year than does the US. The US has more irrigated land than any other nation but the western aquifer is near collapse without careful management. Some nations in the Middle East have mandated all food production and agriculture must be moved off their shores due to water shortage and an expanding world wide water shortage. China has invested in water recycling as has General Mills to meet their company's long term goals even though their plants are on the Great Lakes. With the world population expected to double by 2050, and since agriculture and food processing are jobs that cannot be sent overseas, the US should be in a good position to create jobs here, create world commerce, and have great influence with food from the asian land masses to the middle east by mid century. alas, wisconsin lost 12% of its farmland to McMansions now in foreclosure. I believe technology can make small increases in efficiency that can have great effect. A 5% increase in effeciency in steam was enough to start an industrial revolution. Hiro of Alexandria invented a steam engine in 50 BC that was banned by the Emporer. "what will we do with all the slaves?" Hiro was asked. The perceived social consequences were too much. Even today we often have the same mentality
Lyle Ruble September 11, 2011 at 03:41 PM
@paul peck...Although we are looking to the advent of technology to provide the solutions to our most pressing problems; social adaptation will also be required. Just as the conditions in Europe created the situation where widespread migration occurred to North America, changing how America would be defined. Now the immigration of economic refugees from the south will again change this nation and change it into something else. Soon the North American WASP will go extinct.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 04:04 PM
I totally agree with the point on social adaptation. there are many ways this has been accomplished in history. Sometimes it is done through invention. sometimes it is done through other ways.

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