BY: PETE KASPEROWICZ
IN THE HILL
Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) on Monday proposed legislation that would block enforcement of President Obama’s new policy of letting certain illegal immigrants request temporary relief from deportation.
Schweikert’s bill would specifically prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from allowing that relief, which Obama described on Friday as an option for up to 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States illegally at a young age. Schweikert said his bill would prevent Obama from "dictating" immigration law from the White House.
"Last week, the president decided to grant amnesty and hand out work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while over 23 million Americans remain unemployed and the civilian participation rate is at a 30-year low," he said Monday. "This amounts to an abdication of duty to the American people who are struggling in this economy.
"Instead of working with Congress to secure our border and reform our immigration policy, President Obama sought to circumvent Congress once again."
Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) and six other Republicans introduced similar legislation on Monday, the "Prohibiting Back-door Amnesty Act," which would prohibit the implementation of the new immigration policy by DHS.
"President Obama and Secretary Napolitano’s decision to end the enforcement of many of our nation’s immigration laws is stunning in both its arrogance and shortsightedness," Quayle said. "This end-run around Congress was a direct rebuke to the principle of three co-equal branches of government outlined in our constitution and more broadly, our entire system of laws."
Quayle’s bill is cosponsored by Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), and Dennis Ross (R-Fla.).
On Friday, Obama said the DHS would immediately allow people who don’t pose a national security risk to ask for temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization. While Schweikert’s bill would prevent DHS from enforcing executive orders on immigration, Obama’s policy change came only in the form of a memo on prosecutorial discretion from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, not an executive order.
Republicans have continued to criticize Obama’s announcement as a political ploy to win over minority voters in the November election, one that consciously seeks to avoid enforcement of laws on the books.
On Monday, House Republicans blasted the decision as one that ignores the primary role of Congress in writing immigration laws, and said Congress needs to fight back against the selective enforcement of these laws.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate Democrats welcomed the move, and Reid said the decision is appropriate in large part because Congress has been unable to act on immigration reform.
House Republicans on Tuesday morning continued to rail against the Obama announcement. Aside from opposing what they call the selective enforcement of U.S. immigration law, they argued that by letting illegal aliens apply for work authorization, Obama is forcing unemployed U.S. citizens to compete with non-citizens.
"The White House decree is bad for America," said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). "It is unconscionable for the White House to pit unemployed Americans against illegal aliens in a competition for scarce jobs."
"It would be nice if the president was as concerned about the 23 million Americans looking for work in America as he is about the 12 million undocumented individuals the president claims are looking for work in America," Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) added.Back to News