Friday, January 16, 2015

Billy Long: Obama must work with Congress if he wants to change a law

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

On January 14, the House passed a bill to defund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty and ensure the Department of Homeland Security has the necessary resources to protect American families.

The legislation that passed the House by a vote of 236 to 191 appropriates $47.771 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) while defunding the president’s executive amnesty. The legislation requires DHS to submit to Congress a plan for situational awareness along the Southwest Border within 180 days, and provides $382 million for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. The legislation also prohibits funds from being used to transfer or release prisoners from Guantanamo.

Not only does this legislation include a provision requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to enforce all existing immigration laws, it defunds the president’s executive amnesty. Immigration needs to be reformed, but we still have rule of law in this country and the Executive Branch does not get to unilaterally make this decision. The president is required by the Constitution to work with both Houses of Congress and he must.

This bill prohibits any user fees or appropriated funds made available to any federal agency, by any Act, for any Fiscal Year, including specifically the USCIS Immigration Examinations Fee Account, to implement, administer, enforce, or carry out the Morton Memos and the executive actions announced in November 2014. The legislation also prohibits federal funding from being used by any agency to consider or judge any new, renewal or previously denied application to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

As a former constitutional law professor the president knows that he must work with Congress if he desires a change to a law and he does not have the power to act unilaterally.

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