Obama’s executive action on immigration — 2 ways Congress should respond: Paul Cook
The message in this last election was clear: the American people want the president and Congress to work together to secure our borders. Unfortunately, this appears to have fallen on deaf ears with President Obama. He could have asked Congress to take up this issue during the “lame duck” session, or he could have waited until January when the new Congress was sworn in.
Unfortunately, rather than listening to the American people and working with Congress to strengthen our borders, the president chose to violate the Constitution with an executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
The challenge is finding a way to respond to the president’s illegal action. Some have argued that the best way to block this amnesty is to simply defund the agencies that would implement it. However, President Obama has already indicated that he will veto any legislation that defunds his amnesty. We saw last year that the president and his allies, who control the Senate until January, have no problem shutting down the government for as long as it takes to force their will on the American people. A shutdown would devastate our already weak economy and harm tens of millions of Americans.
While there is no good way to block the president’s executive order directly, there are two appropriate responses from Congress. First, the newly elected Senate should demand that any nominees for positions that oversee this amnesty program, as well as any judicial nominees, repudiate the administration’s power grab. If they will not give this commitment, the Senate should deny confirmation. Preventing the administration from filling the key positions to implement amnesty would slow and could even reverse this policy. Similarly, any judicial nominees that aren’t willing to reject this usurpation of Congress’ lawmaking authority are not fit to serve on the federal bench.
Additionally, the first priority for the new Congress must be to pass a real border security bill that will put an end to mass illegal immigration into America. This bill should include all of the fencing, sensors, and surveillance equipment necessary to secure and monitor the entire U.S.-Mexico border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, it should include a significantly increased border patrol as well as placing enough National Guard troops on the border as necessary to end infiltration efforts. Additionally, this bill must mandate the use of E-Verify for all new hires and contain harsh penalties for companies that employ illegal labor.
The president’s more limited DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) amnesty sparked the current wave of illegal immigrant children pouring across our border, and it’s certain that his latest action will result in millions of new illegal immigrants in the coming months and years. President Obama’s action does nothing to secure our border or protect our citizens, so Congress must act. Sending a border-security bill to the president’s desk will force him to prove once and for all if he meant what he said when he claimed to support a comprehensive immigration fix. Failure to sign a border security bill will show that the president was never interested in a secure border. It’s time to hold the president’s feet to the fire. It’s time to secure our borders.
Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, represents California’s 8th Congressional District.