Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), an influential conservative member, wrote to Speaker John Boehner and other members of House GOP leadership to urge them to drop plans for a new border crisis bill until President Barack Obama rescinds his executive orders that administratively have granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens in America.
“President Obama and others have been suggesting that Congress must act to address the recently heightened border crisis and unlawful entries by Central American residents,” Fleming wrote to Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise on Thursday morning.
“This unprecedented surge of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) to America is directly attributable to the June 15, 2012 directive entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which broadcast to the world that the President of the United States would no longer enforce immigration law with respect to people under age 18,” Fleming wrote. “Quite predictably, this population began coming to the United States in increasing numbers in order to take advantage of this de facto amnesty, regardless of the application and details of that policy.”
Fleming wrote that the illegal alien children have used Obama’s executive amnesty as a “loophole” to get to stay in America. He also called on the GOP leadership to not pass any new legislation or appropriate any new money to the administration until these policies are reversed.
“When children from Central America arrived, they discovered a new loophole which allowed them to stay indefinitely,” Fleming wrote. “Again, predictably, word got back to their home countries that minors were being granted amnesty. I believe that until the President acts to reverse these policies, Congress should not act or pretend that its actions will solve this issue. The nation and this Congress must see specific actions by the President before taking up any legislation or appropriating another dime.”
Fleming called for three steps that must happen before the House considers any legislation. First, he said, Obama must “declare an end” to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Second, he said that President Obama must use the “exceptional circumstances” clause in the 2008 anti-human trafficking law that many have blamed for this crisis to deport the illegal alien children back to their home countries. Third, Fleming called on Obama to join Texas Gov. Rick Perry in deploying the National Guard along the entire U.S. border with Mexico to “secure the border and turn back all illegal crossers.” Perry deployed the National Guard along Texas’ border with Mexico, but Fleming wants the National Guard along the full border, which includes New Mexico, Arizona and California in addition to Texas.
“It would be a mistake for this Congress to act until the President shows demonstrable leadership and takes responsibility for his past actions and decisions,” Fleming wrote. “If the House acts, it should be to bring up a resolution that directs the President as to what actions he should take before the House passes any further legislation. I urge you to stand against any other immigration-related legislative proposals until the President acts in good faith.”
Fleming’s letter is the latest in a series of actions that have created growing conservative momentum against efforts to rush through any border crisis bill that critics say wouldn’t solve the problem. Last week, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) hand-delivered a letter to every member of Congress warning them against taking any actions that don’t get at the root of the problem: Obama’s executive amnesties.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined Sessions’ call by offering a bill that would bar the administration from furthering pursuing DACA or other executive amnesties by blocking funding for documents the administration would need to create. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) offered the House companion of the Cruz bill, both of which have been gaining cosponsors in their respective chambers of Congress.
Now more and more members are speaking out. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), another influential House conservative, echoed Fleming’s letter’s main points in a House floor speech on Thursday morning–calling for an end to DACA, a secured border and for the administration to drop executive orders that block immigration officers from enforcing the law–before any legislation would be considered by the House.
“If we are not willing to enforce our current laws, there is no reason to believe that any future laws will be enforced,” McClintock said. “And until we enforce them, we really can’t accurately assess what changes may be needed.”