Do Republicans Have a Plan to Respond to Executive Amnesty?

Barack Obama Should Have Listened to Barack Obama - ImmigrationReform.comOn Tuesday evening, I attended an event at the Heritage Foundation entitled “An Imperial Presidency,” headlined by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration.

In his speech, Chairman Goodlatte explained that the House of Representatives is suing President Obama over his unilateral actions involving the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) because House leadership believes that they must establish the principle that the President cannot rule by decree as he has been on a number of issues.  The “Take Care” clause in Article II of the Constitution, which empowers the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” is a matter of duty, not discretion, Chairman Goodlatte explained.  But the hardest part of the lawsuit will be establishing that a chamber of Congress has the standing to sue at all. The House has passed a bill ensuring that a chamber of Congress would have such standing, the “Enforce the Law Act,” he said.

In the question and answer session following his speech, Chairman Goodlatte said more about the President’s unilateral amnesties specifically, a topic of substantial interest to the audience. He explained that House leadership did give consideration to including the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in the lawsuit, and that if they establish the principle that the House can sue, it will challenge more unilateral actions, as they need to address immigration as well as the President’s actions on the drug laws.  He also said that he believed that Congress has not utilized the Courts “aggressively” enough, and so separation of powers has become very shaky right now.  The lawsuit the House has already filed is the first step of a “step by step” process to curb executive abuses, he explained, because establishing standing is the first step to ultimately deal with the President’s other abuses. While he did not elaborate how Congress could have been more aggressive, he may have meant that the House should have taken that first step, trying to establish standing through a lawsuit, as soon as the President overstepped his authority.

However, he said, should the President follow up in the near future with additional “major” abuses of power, one of which would be the “dramatic expansion” of unlawful and unilateral amnesties, that would call for an “immediate response.” He suggested that this response might take the form of going to Court and asking for an emergency injunction to stop the unilateral amnesty. He acknowledged, however, that the Courts could drag out the process of hearing until past the end of the President’s term, meaning it would not be an effective way of addressing the issue.  While he mentioned that the “Enforce the Law Act” expedites the legal process to a few months, of course, that bill is not currently law, leaving the prospect of litigation as a way to curb the President’s executive overreach quite murky.

Given the difficulties a lawsuit would present at holding the President accountable, I asked if stopping the President through appropriations and not just a lawsuit is also on the table.  In response, Goodlatte said that the power of the purse is “always” on the table. However, he implied that if one chamber of Congress refuses to use the power of the purse to rein in the Executive branch, it is difficult for the other to do so alone.  If the Republicans should take the Senate, appropriations would therefore be a more likely option for the Republicans to pursue, he hinted.

Chairman Goodlatte also stated that the President’s threat of unilateral actions is what is preventing legislation from happening on immigration: “we all believe in immigration reform,” he said, but when the President claims that he can do it on his own, those who agree with him don’t think they need to enter into negotiations about what needs to be done to enforce the law.

It should be noted that funding for the government will currently run out on December 11, during the lame duck period.  The President has suggested that he will act before the “holidays,” which he could easily stretch to mean as late as December 24. That date would be after Louisiana’s potential runoff election on December 6, and after an appropriations bill is passed, if the lame duck Congress passes one before funding runs out. The question for true immigration reform supporters to ponder is therefore, especially if the Republicans win a majority in the Senate in November, will they pass an appropriations bill funding the government for a year right before the President reveals his hand on what unilateral amnesties he will decree? To do so would remove what leverage they have through the power of the purse until that appropriation expires.  Or will they pass a short term continuing resolution funding the government only until January? Based on this panel, the answer is still undetermined.

Boehner’s Tight Rope Walk Above an Immigration Mine Field

tightropeHouse Speaker John Boehner’s reelection campaign has received  $15 million since early 2013, reported Open Secrets. A considerable portion of that funding came from business PACs and special interest groups looking to help the speaker win his 13th term in office.

In addition to representing his constituents in Ohio’s 8th congressional District, the speaker (as do many of his colleagues in Congress) also works to support legislation that additionally serves the best interest of some of the country’s biggest business and corporate empires. Boehner is widely known as business’ political sweetheart because of his understanding for how companies can cut costs and grow their profit margins.

And while businesses support immigration reforms that include growing the population, increasing worker visas and other methods for loosening our current immigration policies, those views do not correspond to the interests of an average voter in the Buckeye State. According to a 2013 poll, the majority of the speaker’s constituents believed current illegal immigrants should not be given legal status until a plan to secure the border has been implemented and our borders are actually secured.

That division of opinion leaves Boehner in-between a rock and a hard place. Although the Rothenberg Report deemed his seat “currently safe Republican,” and he is not expected to lose this November, Boehner’s battle to adequately represent everyday Americans and Big Labor is one that will certainly continue into the 114th Congress.

Both Parties Out-of-Step with their Bases on Illegal Immigration

Both Parties Out-of-Step with their Bases on Illegal Immigration | ImmigrationReform.comA new poll by the Pew Research Center explains why President Obama abruptly decided to wait until after the elections to announce his massive, unconstitutional illegal alien amnesty. Never mind the independent voters the Democrats need to win if they have a prayer of holding on to the Senate. Amnesty is not even a slam dunk for Democratic voters.

Democrats are pretty much split down the middle on how their party is handling immigration issues and whether illegal aliens should be granted amnesty. Forty-seven percent of Democrats think their party is representing their views on immigration, while 44 percent say the party does not represent their views. More specifically, 20 percent of Democrats think the party is “Not willing enough to allow immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to gain legal status,” while 21 percent say their party is “Too willing to allow immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to gain legal status.”

Among Democrats, there is a sharp split between younger and older voters, and between Hispanics and other ethnic and racial groups. By better than a 2-1 margin, Democrats over the age of 50 think the party is too willing to grant amnesty. Conversely, by a similar 2-1 split, younger Democrats – those between the ages of 35-49 – think the party needs to do more to promote amnesty. Interestingly, the youngest cohort, 18-34, who are having a hard time gaining a foot hole in the labor market, are more evenly divided on amnesty with 22 percent saying the party needs to go further on amnesty and 17 percent who say they’ve gone too far already.

White Democrats oppose their party’s amnesty stance by a 26%-17% margin. Black Democrats, by a 17%-13% margin, think the party is too willing to support amnesty. Hispanic Democrats tend to think the party is not going far enough on amnesty, with 40 percent saying they should go further, compared with just 8 percent who think the party is too willing to grant amnesty.

The congressional Republican leadership is even more out of tune with its base on immigration. A clear majority, 56 percent, believe their party does not represent their views on how illegal immigration should be handled, compared with 37 percent who are satisfied with the GOP’s handling of the issue. Meanwhile, party leaders like Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan, and the 14 Senate Republicans who voted for the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, continue to reflect the business lobby’s agenda, not the voters’.

Clearly President Obama took notice of the fact that about half the voters who self-identify as Democrats are not with him on immigration. Given the fact that he is not exactly wowing them with his handling of the economy or foreign policy, making an end run around the Constitution to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens might be the final straw that results in Democratic voters staying home on Election Day, or perhaps even crossing party lines.

Less clear is whether the Republican leadership is getting it. While committed GOP voters disapprove of the leadership’s business-driven immigration agenda, Boehner continues to push the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s amnesty line. In doing so, they not only risk alienating their base, but could be squandering an opportunity to pick-off independents and even disillusioned Democrats.

Thanks for Pandering, Guys

denver_adsThe illegal alien lobby’s pitch to Republicans has been: Support mass amnesty and fall into our warm embrace. Amnesty is the only thing standing between you and millions of voters.

Amazingly, quite a few Republicans have been willing to drink the Kool-Aid. Among them are two Colorado Republican House members, Representatives Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner (who is seeking a seat in the Senate). Both have come out in favor of amnesty as a cornerstone component of “comprehensive immigration reform.”

But supporting mass amnesty is apparently not enough. Coffman and Gardner refuse to subvert the Constitution and support the Obama administration’s moves to implement amnesties that were never enacted, or unilateral decisions to suspend deportation mandated by existing statutes. As their reward, the George Soros-supported group, America’s Voice, purchased all of the ad space on Friday on the Denver Post’s homepage attacking Coffman and Gardner.

The banner ad, asks, “What are Rep. Cory Gardner & Mike Coffman doing to pass immigration reform? Nothing.” Another ad encourages the paper’s online readers to, “Call Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Cory Gardner and tell them to stop blocking immigration reform!” A third charges that, “Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Cory Gardner are blocking immigration reform and voting to deport DREAMers.

As if that weren’t thanks enough for their efforts, another Soros-backed group, We Belong Together, Gardner and Nevada Republican Mark Amodei, another amnesty supporter, had their offices taken over by protestors.

Instead of feeling like they have fallen into the warm embrace of the amnesty lobby, perhaps these guys are starting to wonder whether they have fallen into the clutches of the amnesty mafia.

There are No Amnesty Supporters in Republican Primaries

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is facing a primary opponent, David Brat, who is challenging him on immigration. Cantor is fighting back by portraying himself as an anti-amnesty champion, like Renee Ellmers successfully did before him. Cantor, along with others in the GOP House leadership, began the year by endorsing amnesty for the bulk of the nation’s illegal aliens with the House’s “Standards for Immigration Reform.”

cantor_mailer

That was January; this is May. Cantor’s campaign has now dropped a campaign flyer into GOP voter’s boxes spouting a very different message. This flyer is as anti-amnesty as it gets. It says: “Conservative Republican Eric Cantor is stopping the Obama-Reid Plan to give illegal aliens amnesty.” The flyer also brings attention to a Talkingpointsmemo.com headline which proclaims that “[Cantor]Torches Immigration Reform after Call with Obama,” a call that the White House described as “pleasant.”

Yet, only last month, Majority Leader Cantor pledged support for Jeff Denham’s military amnesty, the ENLIST Act, and reiterated this support last week. Cantor has also been working on his own version of the DREAM Act, which he has styled the “Kids Act,” since last year.

Interestingly, Majority Leader Cantor is also getting support from pro amnesty groups and pro amnesty lawmakers across the aisle in his contention that he has been a major obstacle for passing amnesty. Frank Sharry, director of the amnesty lobbying group America’s Voice, said last week: “Eric Cantor is the No. 1 guy standing between the American people and immigration reform.”

cantor_rallyOn Sunday, the pro-amnesty group Casa di Virginia sent protestors to storm Rep. Cantor’s Arlington Virginia condo, again calling him “the one man blocking immigration reform.” Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who last year went on a tour with Rep. Cantor in New York City in support of passing bipartisan immigration legislation, sent out a press release through Casa di Virginia stating that he would hold a rally on May 28 in Virginia’s capitol to call attention to the “particularly important role” of Rep. Cantor in immigration.

But is it Eric Cantor standing in the way of amnesty, or Eric Cantor’s primary? We’ll know on June 10th.