President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will endeavor an administrative fix to the nation’s immigration system has raised the ire of Republicans with direct jurisdiction over U.S. immigration policy.
“Just because the legislative branch may not act on immigration reform this year doesn’t mean the President can do an end around Congress and act unilaterally by signing executive orders that do nothing to fix the underlying problem,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.
The Iowa Republican argued that the ongoing crisis at the border — with the massive influx of unaccompanied minors and family units arriving illegally in the U.S. from Central America, expecting to stay — is in part due to Obama’s lack of enforcement of immigration law and his policies.
Monday, Obama said that House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) told him that the House would not be moving on immigration reform this year, and as such Obama said he is “beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”
“As most constitutional scholars know, that’s not how our system of government works,” Grassley responded.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) also took Obama to task for his move toward administrative action.
“Many members of the House want to fix our immigration laws, but President Obama’s continued abuse of his ‘pen and phone’ to act unilaterally has undermined our efforts and has also caused a trust deficit with the American people,” he said. “I’m shocked that President Obama is calling for more unilateral actions, but I am even more shocked by what he didn’t say today.”
According to Goodlatte Obama should have announced actions to take on abuses in the asylum system and make it clear that those migrants entering illegally will be sent back to their home countries.
“By threatening more unilateral actions this summer while failing to address the issue of border security, President Obama will only worsen the crisis at the border and will further undermine Americans’ faith in the President’s ability to lead,” he explained.
Grassley added that if the Obama administration fails to secure the border and enforce the law, the situation will not improve.
“Our immigration system is broken, and it needs fixed, but it needs to start with securing the border, and the bill considered by the Senate fell far short in that area,” he said. “If the Obama administration rewards illegality and fails to enforce the laws or secure the border, we’re going to be back at this same place in 20 years.”