Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today issued the following statement on the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Obama Administration’s unilaterally-created program allowing potentially millions of unlawful immigrants to remain in the United States, the “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.”

“Secretary Kelly made the right decision to end the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional executive amnesty program, which has already been struck down by the federal courts. With his pen and phone, President Obama sought to rewrite our nation’s immigration laws on his own terms, ignoring the Constitution and the fact that it grants the power only to Congress to write our nation’s laws. Rescinding this abuse of executive power is a win for the American people, the Constitution, and the rule of law.  Our nation’s immigration laws need to be improved, but Congress has the sole authority—not the President—to listen to the American people and write the law.”

Background:

  • Before taking executive action on immigration, President Obama stated 22 times that he does not have the authority to change immigration laws on his own. On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced unilateral changes to the nation’s immigration laws, allowing potentially millions of unlawful immigrants to stay in the United States without a vote of Congress.
  • In December 2014, 26 states – led by the State of Texas – filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration, and Chairman Goodlatte took the lead in getting more members of the House to sign an amicus brief submitted to the federal court in support of the states’ lawsuit.
  • On February 17, 2015, a federal judge temporarily blocked President Obama’s unilateral immigration actions.
  • Following this decision, Chairman Goodlatte and other Members of Congress filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a continued injunction against President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration in the case of United States v. Texas.
  • On November 10, 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction preventing President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration from being implemented. Following this decision, the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the case.
  • On March 17, 2016, the House, with Chairman Goodlatte’s support, approved H. Res. 639, a resolution allowing the Speaker to file a brief on behalf of the whole House of Representatives defending Congress’ Article I powers to write our nation’s laws. Watch Goodlatte’s floor speech on H. Res. 639 here. The House filed its brief on April 4, 2016.
  • On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court effectively blocked President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration from being implemented for the remainder of the Obama Administration, allowing a lower court ruling to stand.
  • Read Goodlatte’s November 2014 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the unconstitutionality of President Obama’s unilateral actions here.

 

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