Republican House members are calling on President Obama to work with Congress to pass immigration reform instead of moving forward with his expected executive amnesty. In a letter to Obama dated Tuesday, nearly three dozen Republicans lawmakers — led by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) — argue that executive action would hurt efforts to legislate the issue.
“While Congress certainly understands the need for reforms to the current system, it is imperative that we work together to pass legislation that improves our immigration system, increases border security, and disincentives undocumented immigration from illegally entering the United States,” they write. “Any unilateral action taken by the Administration will impede our efforts.”
The lawmakers referenced a Nov. 5 statement Obama made when asked about his executive actions following a Democratic shellacking in the midterm elections.
“I’ll be reaching out to both Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and other Republican as well as Democratic leaders to find out how it is that they want to proceed. And if they want to get a bill done -- whether it’s during the lame duck or next year -- I'm eager to see what they have to offer,” he said, after asserting his plans to continue moving forward with executive actions before the end of the year.
According to the members, Obama needs to work with Congress now and not hurt the prospect of immigration reform via the legislative process.
“We asked that you deliver on your word and allow Congress to debate and vote on a bill for you to sign. We strongly encourage the Administration under your leadership, to work with the 114th Congress to pass sensible, long-term reforms to address our nation’s immigration issues. Our nation’s immigrants deserve concrete policies that become law after thorough discussions,” the lawmakers concluded.
Obama is expected to announce his executive actions Thursday.
One of the letter’s signatories, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), argued Wednesday that circumventing congress in this manner is part of a refusal by Obama to do his own job.
“Many of the problems with our immigration system can be fixed by enforcing the law. I am using every legislative tool at my disposal to stop the Obama Administration’s lawlessness immediately,” he said. “Immigration policy is an issue affecting millions of people, and it should be addressed through open congressional debate.”
The missive was signed by Reps. Barton, Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Andy Barr (KY-06), Susan Brooks (IN-05), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), John Carter (TX-31), Culberson, Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Bill Flores (TX-17), Trent Franks (AZ-08), Kay Granger (TX-12), Ralph Hall (TX-04), Joe Heck (NV-03), Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Sam Johnson (TX-03), Raul Labrador (ID-01), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Bob Latta (OH-05), Mark Meadows (NC-11), Tim Murphy (PA-18), Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Pete Olson (TX-22), Steven Palazzo (MS-04), Scott Perry (PA-04), Ted Poe (TX-02), Matt Salmon (AZ-05), Pete Sessions (TX-32), John Shimkus (IL-15), Lamar Smith (TX-21), Chris Stewart (UH-02), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Roger Williams (TX-25), and Frank Wolf (VA-01).