Press Releases

Aug 01 2014

Goodlatte Applauds Passage of Bill to Stop President Obama’s Unilateral Immigration Actions

President’s lax immigration policies and administrative legalization programs have fueled the border crisis

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved legislation (H.R. 5272) by a vote of 216-192 to ensure President Obama cannot take sweeping unilateral actions to shield entire categories of deportable aliens from removal. Specifically, the bill effectively prevents the Administration from using any taxpayer dollars to: approve new applications under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program or any similar memorandum or policy; authorize a new deferred action program for any class of aliens; and authorize work permits for unlawful immigrants.

In June 2012, the Obama Administration created the DACA program to grant certain unlawful immigrants a two-year legal status and work authorization. As of March 2014, over 550,000 unlawful immigrants have been approved under DACA and only 20,000 have been denied. President Obama has threatened to take more unilateral actions to stop immigration enforcement this year. Since the implementation of DACA, the number of unaccompanied alien minors seeking to enter the U.S. illegally has risen dramatically. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics estimates that the illegal migration of minors will grow from 6,500 in FY 2011 to an estimated 142,000 in 2015. DHS estimates it will apprehend 90,000 unaccompanied alien minors in FY 2014, representing a 1,381% increase since 2011.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below following House passage of the bill.

Chairman Goodlatte:  “Throughout his presidency, President Obama has used his pen and his phone to effectively stop the enforcement of our immigration laws and shield entire categories of unlawful immigrants from removal. As a result of President Obama’s unilateral actions, word has spread around the world that our immigration laws are not enforced, which has enticed tens of thousands of kids, teenagers, and families from Central America to come to the U.S. illegally with the hope of staying here. Rather than take the actions needed to stop the crisis he created, President Obama proposes to take more unilateral actions this year to stop immigration enforcement. Such actions will only encourage more people to make the dangerous trek north. It’s clear that immigration enforcement is key to ending the crisis at the border and preventing similar situations in the future.

“While there are varying opinions on how to improve our immigration system, the Constitution grants Congress, not the President, the power to write our immigration laws. The President does not have the authority to amend, suspend, and rewrite our immigration laws on his own terms. Today’s vote in the House sends the strong and clear message to President Obama that Americans’ elected representatives do not approve of his abuse of power. I urge the Senate to put politics aside and stand by our Constitution by supporting this legislation.”

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