Weekly Columns

There are some new developments in the ongoing legal challenge to President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge Andre Hanen issued an order blocking the government from carrying out the President’s executive overreach on immigration. 

This was welcome news. The President’s plan is misguided and it is clearly an overreach of the office. His actions essentially amount to granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without the approval of Congress. 

In his 123-page decision blocking the President’s immigration policy Judge Andre Hanen wrote, “These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”

A federal appeals court in New Orleans recently heard arguments from the Administration asking for an emergency stay of Judge Hanen’s ruling. The President wants to be able to carry out his actions during the appeal process, despite the ruling against him.

I strongly disagree with that assertion. 

That’s why I signed an amicus brief filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a continued injunction against the President’s actions. The brief, signed by 24 of my Senate colleagues and 88 members of the House of Representatives, states that the President unilaterally created deferred action programs for unlawful immigrants are unconstitutional and are contrary to the will of Congress.

The Constitutional problems with what President Obama is attempting to do are easy to identify. 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.

There is no doubt that our nation’s immigration policy is in need of reform. That needs to start with securing our borders. That is where the breakdown in the system begins and to grant amnesty without addressing those failures will only exasperate our problem.

We are a nation of immigrants and we should be proud of our record to naturalize those who immigrate here legally. We naturalize more new citizens per year than the rest of the world combined. Reform of our immigration system should continue to follow that welcoming approach, but the key to making it successful is to ensure those wishing to immigrate to America follow the proper, legal process. By securing the borders, we will prevent millions of unlawful immigrants from infringing upon every legal citizen’s right to pursue the American dream.

The direction the President is taking with his executive action is the wrong one and he himself has acknowledged nearly two dozen times that he doesn’t have the authority to grant this executive action before he announced his unilateral plans. Yet he continues to press forward with it and is actively seeking ways around the court decision. We will continue to seek ways to stop this legislatively while making the legal case that the President overstepped his Constitutional authorities when he issued this executive action.