Congressional Republicans are slow to denounce President Obama’s “lawless” actions and doing even less in response, according to Center for Immigration Studies legal analyst John Feere.
As the latest crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border swells, many Republicans accuse Obama of inviting people to come to the U.S. illegally through his unilateral implementation of much of the DREAM Act in 2012 and by endorsing instant legalization through the Senate immigration bill. But while the criticism of Obama has been prevalent, what they’re doing about it appears less clear.
“Unfortunately, Congress has been largely absent. The truth is, it shouldn’t have gotten to the point it’s at now,” said Feere, alleging weak GOP reaction to Obama’s de facto legalization efforts in 2012.
“As soon as President Obama did that, Congress should have immediately reacted and demanded that he stop that lawless program. I mean, the American people have said no to the DREAM Act through their elected representatives numerous times. That wasn’t good enough for the president. He unilaterally decreed it into law through this deferred action, but Congress was largely silent,” Feere said.
And Feere said that response simply continued an existing pattern.
“Years prior, Congress was largely silent when President Obama narrowed the scope through what we generally refer to as the Morton memos, which are a series of memos that limited immigration enforcement to the worst of the worst: the murderers, the rapists, the people who are involved in violent crimes. Certainly it makes sense to go after those people first, but the way those memos operate is to give a pass to virtually everyone who isn’t engaged in the violent crime who’s here illegally,” he said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with John Feere:
So what should congressional Republicans be doing right now? Feere offered multiple suggestions.
"I think what they should be demanding is that the president cease all public discussions about amnesty and the legalization of illegal immigrants and demand that he instead send a message to people around the globe who are thinking of coming here illegally, that the U.S. is going to defend its sovereignty," Feere said. "We're not going to welcome those who seek to violate it."
He also said Congress needs to push back hard against Obama's suggestion that if lawmakers don't pass his version of immigration reform, he will simply legalize lawbreakers through executive orders.
"That type of commentary only encourages more people to come into the United States illegally. I think that Congress really needs to demand that the president get a little more serious about the rule of law," Feere said.
The one legislative initiative before Congress is the $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations the Obama administration says it needs to bring more judges to the border and expedite the deportation process. Feere does not believe that's the top priority for this president.
"I think people need to be very cautious about the language some of these journalists are using about how this funding is going to be used to speed up the deportation of those here illegally," he said. "That's not quite the case. It may speed up the processing of illegal immigrants, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be returned home."
As a result, he said passing the spending bill in it's current form would only make the problem worse.
"Not very much of it's going to be going toward actual enforcement measures," he said. "If we should expect the funding to be spent that way, then we should also expect more illegal immigration because people are going to be hearing that the United States is bending over backward to process anyone who comes to the border. Until people overseas see their neighbors and their family members returned home, the flow of illegal immigrants is going to continue."
Feere said the only reason for Congress to support such a bill is if it were allocated to unequivocally beef up border security and trigger a serious enforcement of existing immigration laws.