On Thursday, 22 Republican senators, including even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), denounced President Barack Obama in a scathing letter for threatening America’s “entire constitutional system” with his immigration “enforcement review” that threatens to “nullify” the nation’s immigration laws.
“Your actions demonstrate an astonishing disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law, and the rights of American citizens and legal residents,” the senators wrote in a letter to Obama. “Our entire constitutional system is threatened when the Executive Branch suspends the law at its whim and our nation’s sovereignty is imperiled when the commander-in-chief refuses to defend the integrity of its borders.”
After intense pressure from pro-amnesty groups who fear that amnesty legislation will not pass this year, Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson met with advocacy groups last month to reportedly consider administrative actions–such as granting more forms of amnesty, not deporting illegal immigrants who have not committed “major” crimes, and allowing bond hearings for illegal immigrants–to further erode the nation’s laws. The senators said they had “grave concerns” with these potential actions because they “would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement and discard the rule of law and the notion that the United States has enforceable borders.”
“These policies have operated as an effective repeal of duly enacted federal immigration laws and exceed the bounds of the Executive Branch’s prosecutorial discretion,” the senators wrote. “It is not the province of the Executive to nullify the laws that the people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have chosen to enact. Congress has not passed laws permitting people to illegally enter the country or to ignore their visa expiration dates, so long as they do not have a felony conviction or other severe offense on their record.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who also signed the letter and has relentlessly debunked the notion that Obama is the so-called “deporter in chief,” told Breitbart News that Obama’s immigration policies also further hollow out the Middle Class that has been found to no longer be the world’s wealthiest and hurt Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder Obama claims he wants to help.
“The Administration’s immigration policies are widening the income gap the White House claims it wishes to narrow,” Sessions told Breitbart News. “American workers have a right to the protections our immigration laws afford, but the Administration has nullified those protections while simultaneously pushing to double the flow of future guest workers into the United States. These policies make it more difficult for the working poor of all backgrounds to rise into the middle class.”
He also said that even though “evidence proves that the Administration has collapsed immigration enforcement,” with the result that “millions of struggling Americans have been deprived of their jobs and incomes,” Congressional Democrats “continue to empower the illegality and stonewall all efforts to stop it.”
“Congress must work to end the lawlessness and restore constitutional order,” he said.
The letter also cites figures from the administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealing that in 2013, “nearly all individuals removed from the United States were convicted criminals and recent border crossers.” It also mentions a Los Angeles Times report that found that “since 2009, there has been a 40% decline in removals of individuals living and working in the interior of the country.”
The senators also cited the testimony to Congress from Chris Crane, President of the National ICE Council, who said the Obama administration is not only handcuffing ICE agents but also taking “disciplinary actions against its own officers for making lawful arrests, it appears clear that Federal law enforcement officers are the enemy and not those that break our Nation’s laws.”
Sessions also noted to Breitbart News that net immigration levels have quadrupled over the last 40 years and cited Harvard Professor Dr. George Borjas, who has found high levels illegal and legal immigration from 1980-2000 have “resulted in a 7.4% wage reduction for American workers without a high school diploma.”
“Currently, more than 1 in 4 Americans without a high school diploma is unemployed, underemployed, or marginally attached to the workforce,” he said. “Research from Dr. Borjas also demonstrates that American workers competing each year with immigrant labor lose approximately $400 billion in wages.”
The senators wrote that the Obama should not look for new ways to weaken immigration laws, especially since his administration has since 2009:
…issued policy directives and memoranda incrementally nullifying immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States – to the point that unless individuals in the country illegally are apprehended, tried, and convicted for a felony or other serious offense, they are free to live and work in the country.
“You swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” they wrote. “We therefore ask you to uphold that oath and to carry out the duties required by the Constitution and entrusted to you by the American people.”
Those who signed the letter include: Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, McConnell, Sessions, Richard Shelby (R-AL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AK), David Vitter (R-LA), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Hoeven (R-ND).
Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were the GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee who did not sign the letter.