Immigration has once again made headline news recently as Dr. Rand Paul, a Republican Senator from Kentucky and possible 2016 presidential candidate, introduced a bill into the Senate that attempts to overturn the President’s executive action on immigration.
A couple of weeks ago, the President announced that his administration, working in conjunction with various departments within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, would be implementing numerous measures designed to offer immigration-related relief to hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who are currently living in the United States. These proposed measures include expanding the President’s existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) as well as creating a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program (DAPA). DAPA will be reserved for foreign nationals who have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident son or daughter.
The President’s announcement of his plans for executive action was met with tremendous anger and denouncement by many Republicans in Congress, who believe President Obama has overreached his presidential powers.
Senator Paul’s Bill
The Senator posted a statement on his website that explained his impetus for drafting and introducing his bill, which he titled “Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act.” According to the statement, the Senator is of the mind that the Constitution clearly reserves legislative powers to Congress, and that the President’s deportation suspensions and work authorizations that will flow from his executive action are legislative actions in nature and thereby violate the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.
As further support for his bill, Senator Paul alleges that the President himself told the American public more than 20 times that he does not have the Constitutional authority to rewrite immigration policy, but that his executive orders explicitly do so.
Senator Paul introduced his bill just one day before the Senate rejected a challenge posed by Texan Senator Ted Cruz, who sought to utilize a partial shutdown of the government as a way to prevent the President’s executive order from taking effect.
Response to Senator Paul’s Bill
The House Republicans have joined together to show support for Senator Paul’s bill, as evidenced by the fact that the House’s counterpart bill (which was sponsored by Florida Congressman Ted Yoho) has already passed with the margin of 219 to 197.
However, the Democrats in Congress have widely decried the bill and have tried to reassure the immigrant population and immigration advocacy groups that the bill will go nowhere, since even if it were to be passed in both the House and Senate, the bill would then go to the President, who would surely and quickly veto it.
It is very unfortunate that members of Congress remain unwilling to work together – both between the two chambers and with the President – in order to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. Thankfully, it seems highly unlikely that Senator Paul’s bill will do much more than clog up an already overstuffed Congressional docket. However, be sure to continue to check with our blog for the most up to date news on this and all other immigration issues.
More Blog Posts:
The Government’s War on H-1Bs, ImmigRantings, October 11, 2012
Obama Signs Immigration Executive Order, ImmigRantings, June 15, 2012
Problems with the H-1B visa: From Work Horse to Show Pony, ImmigRantings, February 13, 2012