At least eight Senate Democrats have expressed opposition to President Obama’s latest executive amnesty, which would grant quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): “We are all frustrated with our broken immigration system, but the way forward is not unilateral action by the president.” (“Landrieu splits with Obama on immigration action,” Associated Press, 11/21/14), http://apne.ws/1z957xJ)
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN): “It is clear the immigration system in this country is broken, and only Congress has the ability to change the law to fix it…I am as frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job, but the president shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.” (“Donnelly sees Obama immigration move as too much,” The Courier-Journal, 11/20/14, http://cjky.it/14T2SW9)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): “Our immigration system is broken, and I support a comprehensive plan to fix it, but executive orders aren’t the way to do it.” (“Local Lawmakers Oppose Obama’s Immigration Action,” KOLR10 News, 11/20/14, http://bit.ly/1FHJdUy)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I disagree with the President’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system, and I disagree with the House’s decision to not even take a vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation that overwhelmingly passed in June 2013.” (“Obama announces immigration plan; WV reps react,” MetroNews, 11/20/14, http://bit.ly/1vbQOcM)
To: Interested Parties
From: Heritage Action for America
Date: December 1, 2014
Subject: Senate has Limited Options in Responding to House-passed Funding Bill (PDF Link
Lawmakers have just ten days to craft a government spending bill and a response to President Obama’s recently announced changes to our nation’s immigration laws. As incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted, the two issues are inextricably connected because “The only tool we have is the power of the purse.”
The Republican-controlled House could — and should — pass a bill that funds the government while blocking the President’s executive actions on immigration. Doing so would not only signal House Republicans are delivering on their election mandate, but also provide an opportunity to the growing number of Senate Democrats publicly opposed to the plan to back up their rhetoric with real action.
Short of accepting the House’s restrictions, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is left with three basic choices: block the House-passed bill, pass his own bill or strip the rider from the House-passed bill. With a united Senate Republican Conference and the aforementioned Democratic opposition, Reid’s chances for success are questionable.
Some have asserted lawmakers have “no fiscal leverage” over USCIS, the agency that will be tasked with carrying out a key plank of President Obama’s executive amnesty program. The New York Times
put it this way last week:
“Officials of the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee have concluded that the government agency most responsible for implementing any new executive order — the Citizenship and Immigration Services — would not be hindered if government funds are cut off; it operates entirely on revenue it generates through immigration applications.”
Ironically, a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee later acknowledged “a rider on the executive order” can be attached to a funding bill. Two additional data points suggest Congress can act to block Obama’s executive actions: 1) President Obama has signed into law (Public Law No: 113-76) congressional restrictions on the use of user fee funded accounts within the Department of Homeland Security; and 2) 25 of the 28 Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee – including the chairman and every cardinal – voted (2014 House Vote #479) to deny “Federal funding or resources” for an expansion of Obama’s executive amnesty plan.
Today, Breitbart reported that the Congressional Research Service found “Congress can in fact block funding for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty order.” Below is an excerpt of that report:
While it is impossible to know exactly what the text of the President’s new executive orders will contain, the press has gotten wind of several possible actions the administration could take.
Foremost, he is likely to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This action would further prohibit as many as 12,000 immigration agents (according to the NYT) from enforcing the law. According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, when all told, this specific change alone could result in anywhere from 430,000 to 1.9 million newly authorized immigrants.
The administration may also decide to extend deferred action (which will likely be accompanied by new work permits) to illegal immigrants who are parents or spouses of those included under the DACA umbrella. This expansion could reach as many as 3.8 million new immigrants, according to the same study.
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Other unilateral options include exempting those convicted of non-violent crimes from removal proceedings, protections for employed farm workers who have entered illegally, and foregoing removal orders that are a certain number of years old. Depending on how far back the memorandum extends, this policy could conceivably incorporate the majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living inside our borders.
Americans, having voted against these policies in the midterm election, are rightly incensed.
The possibility of further executive action has resulted in even the pro-amnesty likes of Karl Rove calling on Congress to use “every tool available” to stop the President:
Put riders on appropriations bills that say no money shall be spent to execute this policy. Pass a bill that specifically holds him accountable… put the riders in there that say you can’t spend any money on these kinds of things.
Now is the time to tell your member of Congress it is up to him or her to demand the executive branch respects the parameters of the Constitution.
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The Senate finally voted on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive the votes required to pass. Want to see how they voted? Check out heritageactionscorecard.com
to see how your Senators voted on one of the most important energy projects in recent years.