WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) joined a group of House Democrats Thursday in a call to President Obama move forward with executive amnesty.
Hoyer argued that taking such action would be about “helping people” and doing “what’s right.” He added that executive action would also spur Congress to move on immigration.
“Speaker [Jphn] Boehner wants action to be taken. He has said that to the leader and myself. He has said that to the President of the United States and I believe him. Not only that he said it to his caucus just a few months ago and he put forth a five point program to proceed. Unfortunately that action was not taken,” Hoyer said.
“I urge the President in light all that has happened to take action and my prediction is, if he does, then we will take action and that is what Americans want,” he continued.
Pelosi and others argued that previous presidents have taken executive actions and pointed to former — Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush’s actions to establish a “Family Fairness” program for spouses and children of people who received amnesty in the 1980s.
“There is not a question that the president can act administratively, take executive action. Just as we should act legislatively. We each have our rolls in government,” Pelosi said.
Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) lead Thursday’s group of more than 20 House Democrats at a press conference to call on President Obama to act big and boldly, using executive action to grant deferred status to millions of illegal immigrants.
“What we want the president to do is to act big, act bold, and act broadly and act soon,” Gutiérrez said. “We want the president to make sure that this Thanksgiving is a Thanksgiving that is bountiful in blessings for millions upon millions of immigrants in this nation that have been waiting for a chance to come out of the shadows and live without fear of deportation.”
He relayed that he and Lofgren plan to send a letter — boasting more than 115 Democratic signatures to Obama Thursday — urging action Thursday afternoon.
“But the Republicans in the House will not allow a vote and because they will not allow a vote it’s important, really essential for the president to use his authority, under existing law to achieve what can be achieved in terms of meaningful reforms,” Lofgren said.
Meanwhile Republicans are working on ways to preempt such executive actions, including using funding mechanisms to prevent such an amnesty from moving forward.
“The audacity of this President to think he can completely destroy the Rule of Law with the stroke of a pen is unfathomable to me. It is unconstitutional, it is cynical, and it violates the will of the American people. Our Republic will not stand if we tolerate a President who is set upon the complete destruction of the Rule of Law,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said Thursday.
King went on to call on House members “to use the power of the purse to protect our Article I authority.”