Saturday, March 7, 2015

Brief History of Executive Action and Immigration

by Rep Rick Crawford (AR-1): The United States is a country built by immigrants, and America has always welcomed new sons and daughters to its shores. Immigrants benefit from the opportunities and freedoms that this land has to offer, while our country itself is further enriched and invigorated by their new talents, ideas, and culture. However, America is also built upon the ideals of democratic processes and a strict adherence to the Constitution.

In November of last year, the President issued a major executive action on immigration policy that would offer temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, along with an indefinite reprieve from deportation. Around four million immigrants would be covered under this action. The President's decision to act alone on this issue contradicts what he has promised in the past, but more importantly it side-steps the rule of law, the separation of powers outlined in our Constitution, and is unfair to the immigrants who came to our country legally.

For those reasons, the House decided to take action. In January, I voted for a bill that the House passed that fully funded DHS but defunded the President's amnesty plans. However, the U.S. Senate couldn't come to an agreement, and so the issue remained unresolved.

On February 16, Judge Hanen, from the Southern District of Texas Federal District Court, issued his Order and Memorandum that granted a Preliminary Injunction that, for the moment, has stalled Obama's unconstitutional Executive Action. The temporary nature of this hold against the President's Executive Action is what concerns me the most: the Judge's ruling will not be the final word on the President's Executive Action. Any final judgments Hanen decides upon will then be subject to a Court of Appeals and possibly the Supreme Court. We don't know when a final ruling will be issued, and we can't be certain that the ruling won't approve the President's actions.

Midnight on Friday, February 27 marked the deadline for DHS appropriations. With the Executive Action blocked by the Texas Judge's Injunction, a bill to keep the department open for another week came to the House floor. In order to keep Americans safe and our border secure, I voted for this short term authorization while Congress could search for possible alternatives and other solutions to combat the President's illegal actions.

Unexpectedly, on March 3rd, a 'clean' DHS Appropriations Bill was brought to the House floor for a vote. Calling this bill 'clean' is a misnomer: the appropriations bill fully funded the Department of Homeland Security through the rest of the year, but it did nothing to address the Administration's unilateral and illegal executive actions on immigration. In a year's time, the Judge's temporary block may be overruled, and the President could be allowed to continue granting unconditional amnesty to several million illegal immigrants.

I have always opposed blanket amnesty. That is a line I cannot cross. For that reason, I voted against H.R. 240. Unfortunately, 75 other Republicans joined all 182 Democrats in voting yes on H.R. 240, and the bill passed. As of now, the President's actions are still on hold, but we can't be sure for how long.

Granting blanket amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants isn't fair to those who followed the rules and came to our country legally, and it isn't right. I will continue to search for ways to fight the President's unconstitutional overreach, and I promise I will keep fighting further attempts at unfair advantages for those who came here illegally.

Tags: IRick Craford, U.S. Representative, AR, Dist 1, Executive Amnesty, immigration, H.R> 240, DHAs Funding To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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