GOP Lawmakers Demand Obama Release Immigration Recommendations

GOP Lawmakers Demand Obama Release Immigration Recommendations

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are demanding President Obama immediately reveal the immigration recommendations that he plans to use to take executive action on immigration reform.

In a letter to Obama Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Republican committee members decry the secrecy of the administration’s plan to move forward unilaterally to change the nation’s immigration laws and call on Obama to release the recommendations he has received.

“In the spring, you asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to perform an ‘inventory’ of the Department of Homeland Security’s current immigration enforcement practices ‘to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law,'” the letter reads. “Within the last week you indicated that you have begun to receive some of these recommendations.” 

In June, President Obama announced that he would be take executive action to “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress” using the recommendations he receives. Obama set an end of summer deadline for that action. Amid political pressure from Democrats facing tough elections in red states, however, the White House moved the deadline for action to before the end of the year. 

“Whether it’s now or November, it is never acceptable for the Executive Branch to ignore the Constitution and unilaterally give amnesty to unlawful immigrants,” the letter reads.

According to the committee Republicans, Obama should release the recommendations immediately to give the American people a chance to see them. They wrote:

We therefore ask that you immediately release to the public all the recommendations that you have received for administrative action – from Secretary Johnson, from Attorney General Holder, and from the interest groups with whom you and your Administration have met. And we ask that you continue to release additional recommendations as you receive them. This could go some way toward repairing the damage to the American political process caused by the secrecy with which your Administration has considered changes to our immigration system.

Read the letter:

Dear President Obama,

We write requesting that you disclose information to the American people about the anticipated actions you plan to take by the end of the year to further dismantle our nation’s immigration laws. 

In the spring, you asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to perform an “inventory” of the Department of Homeland Security’s current immigration enforcement practices “to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law.” Within the last week you indicated that you have begun to receive some of these recommendations. You also indicated that you would wait to issue any executive orders or otherwise take action on the recommendations until after the November elections. 

Since you have postponed these executive actions until after the midterm elections, you will have ample time to consider the ideas put forth by Secretary Johnson and others before you make any decisions to fundamentally alter how our immigration laws are enforced, grant immigration benefits to millions of unlawful immigrants, or otherwise modify how our immigration laws are interpreted. You have made clear that you will take such actions without the passage of any legislation by Congress, and therefore without the input of the American public’s representatives. Additionally, it has been widely reported that you and your Administration have been meeting with select interest groups regarding their demands for administrative action on immigration. As a result, the American people have been cut out of a process that could dramatically affect their lives. 

Whether it’s now or November, it is never acceptable for the Executive Branch to ignore the Constitution and unilaterally give amnesty to unlawful immigrants. Regarding actions you are planning that you believe would comply with the Constitution, the least the Administration can do is give Americans the opportunity to see the recommendations that you are considering before you take any actions. Rather than attempt to hide these actions from the American people until after the midterm elections, Americans should be given the chance to come to their own conclusions as to the merits of these recommendations. They can then exercise their constitutional right to petition the federal government and let you know their opinions. 

We therefore ask that you immediately release to the public all the recommendations that you have received for administrative action – from Secretary Johnson, from Attorney General Holder, and from the interest groups with whom you and your Administration have met. And we ask that you continue to release additional recommendations as you receive them. This could go some way toward repairing the damage to the American political process caused by the secrecy with which your Administration has considered changes to our immigration system.


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