“YES” on King Amendment
Today, the House is expected to vote on the King amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 2217). The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R – IA), would prohibit funds in the bill from being made available to implement either the June 17, 2011 memorandum from the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding the exercise of prosecutorial discretion or the June 15, 2012 memorandum from the Secretary of Homeland Security regarding the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It would also prohibit funds to implement memos from March 2, 2011, November 17, 2011, and December 21, 2012.
ICE Director John Morton issued a memorandum on June 17, 2011, entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens.” The memorandum effectively permitted Department of Homeland Security officers, agents, and attorneys to decide whether illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty based on a set of vague criteria. Heritage explained at the time:
In a memo from ICE, the department’s agents–who are charged with enforcing the country’s immigration laws–will be empowered to pursue or dismiss immigration cases against broad categories of illegal aliens who would have benefited from the legislation—without the DREAM Act even becoming law. The agency’s rationale? It has limited resources and therefore must exercise prosecutorial discretion where it sees fits.
When it comes to enacting his agenda, the legislative process is not something that registers on President Obama’s radar.
This was merely the Obama administration’s attempt to bypass Congress, which never supported DREAM Act. With the June 17, 2012 memo, President Obama announced that his Administration would stop deporting and begin giving work permits to illegal immigrants who met certain criteria. In doing so, Mr. Obama undercut the legislative process and the rule of law.
As Heritage has explained, amnesty comes in many forms. In all of its forms, it undermines the rule of law and encourages future illegal immigration.
Heritage Action supports the King Amendment and will include it as a vote on our scorecard.