Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent two letters to the Obama administration demanding information on the President’s unprecedented decision to stop deporting and begin giving work permits to potentially millions of illegal immigrants. 

The first letter asks that President Obama provide the House Judiciary Committee with any legal opinions from the Justice Department regarding the constitutionality of the Administration’s amnesty.  The second letter insists that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Mayorkas provide the Committee with answers to questions about how the Administration will prevent fraud in the processing and implementation of this amnesty, among other things.  And since the Administration’s amnesty was formulated with little thought toward the implementation of its policy, the letter also requests that USCIS keep the Committee informed as answers to the remaining questions are developed. 

Below are excerpts from the letter to President Obama. To read the full letter, visit https://judiciary.house.gov/_files/news/pdfs/Letter%20to%20Obama.pdf

“Your recent decision to grant amnesty in the guise of ‘deferred action’ and work authorization to potentially millions of illegal immigrants … represents a breach of faith with the American people and our Constitution, blatantly ignoring the rule of law and the separation of powers that are the foundations of our democracy.  The American people and Congress have a right to know what your legal justification is for engaging in an action that a little over one year ago you believed was beyond the scope of the authority of the Executive Branch.

“The separation of powers between three co-equal branches of government is the hallmark of American democracy.  But your Administration’s decision to abandon our democratic principles and impose this policy without legislation flies in the face of the intent of our Founders. And it raises serious constitutional questions about the legitimacy of the policy.

“I respectfully request that you provide to the House Judiciary Committee any legal opinions from the Justice Department regarding what authority the Administration has to impose immigration policies without congressional approval.” 

Below are excerpts from the letter to USCIS Director Mayorkas. To read the full letter, visit https://judiciary.house.gov/_files/news/pdfs/Letter%20to%20Mayorkas.pdf

“Not only is this amnesty an overreach of executive branch authority, it is a magnet for fraud.  Illegal immigrants will be eager to purchase fake documents showing that they arrived in the United States before the age of 16.  And many ‘entrepreneurs’ will be eager to meet the demand for fake documents.  This brazen move by the Administration is a campaign sound bite and not sound policy. 

“It is your duty as Director of USCIS to make every possible effort to prevent fraudulent immigration-related applications from being approved.  Unfortunately, the very policy set forth by the Administration makes carrying out that duty virtually impossible.  The Administration’s policy is an incentive for any illegal immigrant to submit a fraudulent application simply in hopes of receiving amnesty.  

“Your own admissions show that little if any thought was put toward actual implementation of the policy.  Such a lack of forethought about processing and implementation prior to announcement of the policy is a dereliction of the duty the President vowed to uphold.  Unfortunately, this Administration continues to place partisan politics and illegal immigrants ahead of the American people and the rule of law.”