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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 10, 2011 at 12:44 AM
According to the CIA factbook on the Intelligence analysis of the United States, our entire country has 3000 cu km of RENEWABLE Freshwater resources. Lake Michigan has 4,920 cu km of freshwater volume. Our nation looses 477 cu km of freshwater every year. Two years ago, the CIA listed the pending crash of the Western Aquifer and a fresh water crisis by 2020 as a significant threat to our nation. Last year they cited the threat as being mitigated by epa mandates to rebuild an aging water supply with better water recylcing. We do not have as much fresh water as you may think. Lake Michigans resource is expected to be a critical national resource by 2020. Lack of fresh water is a factor in the present immigration issue. and a world water crisis has already caused some countries to mandate that all water intensive industries must be moved off their shores. good news for us, but lake michigan has been loosing water ever since they dredged the saint lawrence sea way in the 1950's. The loss is presently mitigated by dredging policy. It has been know for decades that the sea way must one day be blocked. The lake only has 1920 cu km more fresh water than 100% of our nations entire renewable supply. With the strain on the western aquafer, lake michigan is not as unlimited as you would think.and a great deal of fresh water here does not help americas south west or strain on water sharing between the US and mexico, an issue central to immigration
paul peck September 10, 2011 at 12:58 AM
have you never read the book "I Robot" or seen the movie with Will Smith or read the 1950's Issac Assimov's short story series? In that book/movie, lake michigan is a desert. Assimov did not just make up that detail to make a good plot for a story set in 2035. That was the estimate at the time when the began dredging the sea way of how many years lake michigan could survive before it became a desert. The thinking at the time was that in 50 years around the year 2000 would be able to close the sea way or apply new technology, and they would fix it. Present estimates of water lose of the lake are in keeping with the original estimates a generation ago, but we are not acting today as it was hopped. back on point, water sharing treaties with mexico are a driving factor in immigration. seawater desalination is a known technology and in some countries, their almost their entire supply, and well suited for solar. better water sharing treaties with mexico would be favorable to the immigration issue for people on all sides of the aisle
Jay Sykes September 10, 2011 at 01:06 AM
@CowDung... Dasani, bottled by the Coke plant on Brown Deer Road, is purified Lake Michigan goodness.
Lyle Ruble September 10, 2011 at 02:08 AM
@paul peck...Information to be added: Of all the water on earth only 3% is fresh. Of that fresh water only 10% is accessible, the other 90% is locked up in polar ice, glaciers and underground. Our current supply must be allowed to be recycled and used over and over. Humans have put so much demand on the potable water supply that we don't have enough for nature to naturally recycle it and we have to use technological means to speed up the process. Very energy intensive and extremely expensive. As the planet warms the polar ice is melting as well as glaciers, but the water is not useable since it winds up in the oceans. Water more than oil will be the geopolitical force that will determine the future of humanity.
paul peck September 10, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Thanks lyle....very good input... and it is true enough that the water resource of the upper mid west due to the great lakes is already attracting industries. In many cities in the area, workers are being trained to retrofit water and sewers with water recycling equipement as this is a growth industry projected in the tens of billions around the US over the next 2 decades. Food and Food processing are also water intensive industries and General Mills in Minneapolis has expanded water recycling to its Minnesota plants to be viable in the long term, even though many of these plants are near the great lakes. It is true that water resources in our area will do much to attract industies, but it is far from an unlimited supply, especially when water is in crisis elsewhere. In regards to immigration, water sharing treaties with Mexico are strained. Lack of freshwater drives many economic refugees, and is stressing our nations western aquifer to near collapse. A project to develop solar water desalination plants in mexico and the US could ease the strain on water resources in that desert area, create jobs in the US, give US great leverage in the plants were built in Mexico or at least in economic free zones, and reduce a stress that drives economic refugees from Mexico. Patriot of course will object, but since the Rio Grande can now be waded across, even he may see the benefit of better water policy with mexico if for no other reason but make the rio grande deeper
Lyle Ruble September 10, 2011 at 08:39 PM
@paul peck....The idea of coupling solar power with water desalizination is an idea that's time has come. With the pollution of the aquifers and many have become briny and unusable, desalizination is the obvious answer. Also solar power can be utilized for large scale reverse osmosis operations. For agricultural production, utilizing greenhouses better utilizes water and recycling. A 10 hectar greenhouse uses less water than equivalent open air production. Israel has been using the technology for nearly four decades. Even though British Columbia has plenty of rainfall, they use greenhouses to extend and control the growing seasons, but also better utilize the water resources. Unlike the American approach to doing things, which is do it big and cheaply; Canada and Europe have learned to do it efficiently. There are many lessons to be learned.
paul peck September 10, 2011 at 09:42 PM
and its viability has been proven, not just technologically but also commercially. Solar works well when coupled to desalination in many parts of the world, not just for desalination but also for water treatment. George W. opened up the western ranges for solar leases. Good so far. Bears & Stearns bought up most of the solar leases outside Los Angles. These are the leases that have the highest output and closest to the largest energy market. But, Bears Stearns refuses to build on them until 2018. Many smaller firms are already developing the less profitable tracts. Over 1 billion has been invested in these tracts by wisconsin based firms. As a business move, Bears and Stearns is letting others do the pioneering and setting the infrastructure for solar, and waiting until supply and demand is highest in the LA market, regardless of what is best for the country right now. It also takes away the US ability to develop solar and profitable water desalination in the south west to take pressure off the western aquifer and ease tensions on US/Mexico water sharing agreements. Tensions on these agreement lower the water table on the Rio Grande AND put pressure on people to flee life threatening situations by becoming economic refugees. Because of the US solar lease policy and Bears Stearns trading strategy, Mexico remains the only place left where strategic planning can occur to meet the needs of the nation as a whole.
Lyle Ruble September 10, 2011 at 10:17 PM
@paul peck....it is interesting how all the petro/chem companies have taken steps to convert themselves from oil companies to energy companies. As we transition from oil to alternative energy sources, they wish to be on the ground floor so that they can end up controlling the new energy resources just as they controlled oil and gas. We need to reorganize the situation where the oil companies and financial institutions cannot continue manipulation and stealing.
Jay Sykes September 10, 2011 at 10:36 PM
paul peck... EV solar, all in costs, at a 10%cap rate, runs 150-300 USD/mwH;wind 45-150/mwH;nuclear 30-50/mwH;coal & gas 25-60/mwH. Best case, solar is the same cost as wind;worse case, it costs twelve times as much as coal/natural gas. These numbers do not include the distortions caused by the idiosyncratic tax credits that lower the cost of wind or solar.
paul peck September 10, 2011 at 11:14 PM
T.Boone pickens disagrees, and the expansion of the solar tracts in Nevada and other places under George w. leases to private investment firms have been profitable, while the largest tracts are not being developed due to trading policy by the investment banking firm holding the leases for reason disclosed in their quarterly reports. Their explanation differs. true enough, most off the shelf EV cells are around 12% efficient, with some of the best at 18-20% efficient. NASA's terrestrial based "Rainbow Array" is over 30% efficient, but has not been used outside the space program. In parts of the world of desert/mediterranian climates such as in americas south west and the us mexico boarder, solar desalination is the most cost effective means for water evaporation. In terms of water desalination, solar is more cost efficient in evaporating water with high specific heat capacity than fossil fuel. In that process, solar is used for evaporation with over 90% thermal efficiency in an exchanger, the same as with fossil fuel, but without the long term fuel costs once nearly identical infrastructure is established, making EV analysis irrelevant. If one considers the water demands of Arizona, southern california, etc, the cost structure is very different from direct solar EV processes. In Israel and Saudi Arabia which demand wide spread use of solar desalination, surplus energy is often available to add to the electrical grid.
paul peck September 10, 2011 at 11:18 PM
By contrast, the Thompson steam engine was 20% efficient. The Watts steam engine was 28% efficient and began the industrial revolution. The internal combustion engine is about 32% efficient. Solar remains in the 18-20% range....about double what it was at the turn of the last century. if there were an 8% increase in solar cell technology, there would be no question about its use and in some applicaitons, such as using solar to evaporate sea water to create fresh water for a desert population, Solar has proven to be a very profitable business model, even without generating any electricity at all.
paul peck September 10, 2011 at 11:33 PM
If one also considers the oil prices two years ago verses today, and the experience of zero point production in most coutries of the world (pemex has some long term issues with output. Exxon, BP, and other have not invested in exploratory drilling since oil was at 20 dollar per barrel, and increased domestic drilling significantly since Obama took office to offset the decreased output from foreign oil, and the fact that 3 entirely new Natural Gas plants must come online every month just to maintain current levels of demand), the projected costs by 2020 are much different than they are today.While some solar companys are developing now, to be in full operation by 2020, Bears Stearns is waiting until 2020, to introduce any solar power to the LA market when prices will be higher, demand greatest. In the mean time, Bear sterns includes the leases with patent proprietary it purchases for an investment portfolio, and trades shares in the portfolios future value. Bears Stearns choice is not based on the viability of solar to be useful or profitable, but rather, how it can be most profitable to them.And thats what a business is supposed to do. I am a Catholic. The Catechism of the Church says "The free market does not always meet the needs of society, especially the poor" Bears Stearns is a good example of a profitable business decision for them, that does not always meet the common good. It is not about the viability of solar. over the long term, solar is more viable.
Jay Sykes September 10, 2011 at 11:52 PM
Without the Tax credits, EV-solar is not financially competitive with traditional sources of electricity. FYI: Due to its poor economics,Pickens 'pulled the plug' on his wind-farm, located in the Texas Panhandle,within the 'wind corridor' of the USA, the place that produces the cheapest and most reliable wind power in the USA. Sure, I find the science of EV-solar cool too, but until it gets significantly less costly, it's just a way to give this country a sun burnt wallet. I haven't seen any stand alone $ numbers on solar desalination --- got any for us??
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 12:04 AM
I have tried to access google scholar for you. ScienceDirect site that offers peer reviewed papers seems to be down for maintainence. many links I have use that server as does much of Google Scholar. http://www.sciencedirect.com I will look for other servers and links for you that may be active right now.
Jay Sykes September 11, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Bear Stearns must have been making many bad financial decisions;they were wiped out in during our recent financial crisis(2008) and almost took all of us down with them too. FYI:in the last month, two major solar players, publicly traded companies, went bankrupt. They all received very very large taxpayer funding too.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 12:22 AM
The best I can offer at this time is the cost per acre of the Proposed Posiedon plant north of San Diego, waiting approval for an enviromental impact study on the sea water intake. Water currently sells for 700 per acre foot to the San Diego market. The posideodon plant plans to sell its desalinated water at 900 dollars per acre foot, powered by the encina power station which used gas and oil. This is almost a 30% projected increase in costs for fuel and water demands in the area, and this is at subsidized prices from the encina powerplant. The projected start date for the plant is before 2020 when costs for both water and fossil fuel are projected to be even higher. these are not the numbers you were looking for, but until science direct comes back on line, I cannot do much more. I will find some papers that are very critical of the cost effectiveness for solar too. Reverse osmosis and other things does adress many issues. There is also the factor of scale. I will do my best to meet your request
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Yes, there are publicly traded companies of all kinds that merely hold various assets, and seek Venture speculators. You find the same things in solar, oil, gas, nuclear companies, even some medical marijuana companies have been traded on the NYSE and folded, but that is how things are "Capitalized".... Bears Stearns is doing that very thing with solar leases, holding them with other patents into a portfolio, without any management that has any experience with buidling any civil engineering project...but raising lots of capital in the energy futures markets. Let the others build and fail, and pick up their pieces, patents, infrastructure, and plan to build only in 2020, when industry projects peak oil to be universal even for US domestic reserves....then oil cannot be an option...coal possibly, but with green house issues, acid rain, which also limits industry.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 12:45 AM
there are over 18,000 publically traded solar companies. there were 3 major players that went bankrupt last month. they were PV manufacturers not power plants http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/business/global/us-solar-company-bankruptcies-a-boon-for-china.html
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 01:04 AM
"You've got transmission and a live wire. Got your cue lines and a handful of ludes . You wanna be there when they count up the dues..." -Bowie Bad credit markets and lack of transmission lines/infrastructure can often have similar ill effects....but that does not mean that america's addiction to oil is not an effective pharmacutical, nor does it mean an alternative prescription is an ineffective remedy. http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/energy/23817/ some believe the wind project plug was pulled because Pickens is a heavy investor in BP's wind fund, and owns water rights in the texas panhandle, which could benefit him personally if the wind project in texas moved forward, and by seeking another site without the conflict of interest was to bring integrity to his plan, which at 83, he still campaigns for....and oh yes, natural gas can be synthesized from renewable sources, and he did purchase the 670 or so wind turbines now sitting and gathering dust....and he still keeps trying.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 02:08 AM
if one looks to government efforts to assist solar manufacturers as an arguement against the viability of solar verses oil, one would also have to consider that present tax breaks to oil companies as well as value added services such as US Military escorts of all oil shipments to the US, even before 9-11, which the oil companies do not pay for. If these were part of industry prices, the cost comparison of oil to solar would be very different, however, the american tax payer still pays for these costs, in a century where oil is not sustainable in the long term true enough, solar has issues at scale, and at present, cannot meet current US demand. Solar none the less has many commercially viable applications. with the loss of US manufacturers of solar cells, china's orders have spiked, making China much more technically savy to employ solar where it can, and if solar becomes capable of providing energy for a market of scale, China will have an infrastructure suitable for that transition because of its intermediate steps of employing solar in applications where it is practical today. our nation is not doing this and the south west is a good area to explore water and solar and renewable issues and doing so has many benefits to boarder security issues and immigration issues as a consequence of good design
Lyle Ruble September 11, 2011 at 02:39 AM
@paul peck...The development of the technologies to solve the water and energy problems are probably much too big to be left to private enterprise. Just as during the Second World War the government developed the Manhattan Project which led to the nuclear power industry. Again the government could not leave it to private industry to develop the technology for the Apollo Project and the moon missions. I feel strongly that the projects that are needed must be directed and funded by the federal government and the technology shared with the free market for commercial development.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 03:00 AM
not a bad point lyle. The economic free zones and NAFTA allowed companies to go to mexico...many heavy polluters and other things that were profitable, but not always for the public good. in 1996, Suburban production started up in Silias Mexico and production in Janesville was reduced. Mexican workers were paid 4 dollars per hour, much less than the US counter parts. The price of the Suburban was RAISED 6,000 dollars. Free trade agreements helped companies move across boarders with less red tape and taxes. if an american consumer went to Mexico to purchase a Suburban, could they get it at a lower cost too? NO. The cost was even more for the consumer, making the US costs a captive market. Because of the profits made by the SUV production in 1996, the GM CEO took bonuses making 20 million per year, and pension of 5 million per year, even when GM's own R&D predicted 2020 to be the end of oil, and was working on the hydrogen car, the electric car for 2020 as oil would not be practical as per their estimates. But the GM CEO was planning to retire before 2000, leaving the mess he pirated to others, and many plants in Mexico are relocating to china now. Development that is purely profit based does not always work. Can you imagine how much WW 2 would have cost if every US supplier and CEO received a bonus check and a bail out?
Jay Sykes September 11, 2011 at 12:53 PM
In its current state, what can we use EV-solar for, that makes it a commercially viable replacement good for oil? I don't object to government funding solar research, but handing out tax dollars in order to coerce people to adopt solar commercially, in large scale, is pure folly. FYI:the tax code treats oil drilling substantially like all other mining.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 01:03 PM
The Poseidon desalination project at Huntington Beach California is interesting Jay. The desalination plant has a relationship with the encina power station. That power station takes electricity out of Orange county energy market for the water project to sell water at prices 30% higher than todays prices, and by decreasing the electrical supply, it will be able to raise prices in its own electricity market based upon supply and demand. Bears Stearns holds the solar leases on the nearby federal lands, but will not develop them until 2020 when price projections are at their highest before prices force consumers out of the market place, leaving the area without any free market option other than gas or oil. With American solar manufacturers out of the market, China's orders have soared and able to create intermediate energy infrastructures. It took 68 years for a can opener to come to the market place AFTER the wide spread use of the can. we can see why If sustainable efforts in america's southwest were implimented, it would have beneficial effects on boarder security, the forces that drive economic refugees, create jobs, and have beneficial effects on immigration issues. Lyle is correct. Business development in the economic free zones and through NAFTA have only been made to generate short term profits for businesses. Business exists to make a profit, but as in WW 2, free enterprize driven solely for profit does not always meet the needs of society.
paul peck September 11, 2011 at 01:24 PM
the links I shared with you showed a distinct price point in electricity when solar is cost effective compared to fossil fuels, as well as describing other factors where the costs of solar off set other costs...ie. when lack of infra structure exists or remoteness of the site. Several areas of the country are at that the price point, and businesses are expanding operations based on their own projections that are many times higher than todays prices, even in their short term markets. I believe that answers your question on what solar is good for. It has reached the point where it is a good solution for some applications. And I would agree with you jay on handing out tax incentives without a design plan. I would say that if tax breaks to big oil are done in the same way as any other mining, that the tax incentive is handed out in a way to encourage business to develop in a way desired for reasons that may not otherwise be on a companys spread sheet such as encouraging a refinery in Texas City Texas to stay in operation, that these costs must be considered in the final price we pay at the pump regardless of how they are hidden in the tax bill. I think we both agree we need to do something different even if we have different ideas on how to accomplish that. I am only suggesting that better development issues on energy and water in the southwest could improve immigration issues as a consequence, and that goal is outside the focus of private industry.
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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