Weekly Columns

After months of threatening to act unilaterally, President Obama has announced his plans to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants through executive order.

His plan is misguided and it is clearly an overreach of the office.

We should not reward people for breaking the law. Anyone seeking to become a citizen should do so legally. We are a nation based on laws and those laws must be respected, especially the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

The powers given to each branch of the government are clearly defined by the Constitution. President Obama simply does not have the authority to write laws as he sees fit. That’s the job of Congress. The President’s role is to respect and enforce the laws on the book.

President Obama previously acknowledged acting alone is not appropriate.

“I am president, I am not king. I can't do these things just by myself,” President Obama said Oct. 25, 2010. Less than three years later, “I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed,” he declared on Feb. 14, 2013.

The Constitution charges the President with the responsibility to ensure the laws that Congress makes are faithfully executed. The President does have the power to use discretion on enforcement of our immigration laws, but that is on an individualized, case-by-case basis. When the President tells millions of people that the law as written, no longer applies to them, he has moved from discretion to abuse.

Make no mistake. Congress intends to use the power of the purse to defund the President’s actions. We will pursue all other available tools offered by our legislative and oversight powers to confront President Obama’s unprecedented abuses of power.

There was no mandate for either party issued on Election Day. Rather, the American people said they want Washington to listen to them. The President should join the new Congress in committing to that approach, instead of focusing on his own agenda and governing by fiat. This unilateral action is further ostracizing Congress and the American people.

The path to immigration reform is to work with Congress, not around us. It starts with securing our borders. We must stop allowing individuals to enter the country illegally without recourse. We must hold those who break the law accountable.

Securing the borders requires that we allocate the resources, surveillance technology and manpower necessary to ensure that individuals crossing our borders are doing so legally. By starting here, we will prevent millions of unlawful immigrants from infringing upon every legal citizen’s right to pursue the American dream.

We are a nation of immigrants and must remain welcoming to those who want to achieve the American Dream. However, it is vital that we enforce the law and ensure the safety and security of our nation. We must look to forward-thinking solutions to our problem with illegal immigration, not the failed policies of the past.