Mr. Speaker, the issue before us today is whether the U.S. Constitution will be followed by the President or not. That is the issue. That is why we have this unusual situation, where the House of Representatives, by this resolution, is joining in on a legal action to let that be resolved by the judiciary branch of government.
It all started in November of 2014, when the Department of Homeland Security wrote out a memo and sent it out to the fruited plain and said that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer enforce U.S. immigration law. The Department of Homeland Security is a branch, a portion of the administration. This unprecedented, unilateral action by the executive branch was a nullification of immigration law of the United States. And it was not done by Congress.
It was done by administrative edict that came from the White House. Article I, section 8, clause 4 states that Congress—that is us—has the power ‘‘to establish an uniform rule of naturalization’’ in the United States. So what value is the law or the Constitution if the executive, who is supposed to enforce the law—not make it, as we all learned in ninth grade civics—sends out a memo saying it will no longer enforce the law? The law of the land is repealed by the administrative pen because the President doesn’t like the law, as written. Repealing a law is supposed to be a legislative action—that is Congress— and is not supposed to be an executive action; that is, if the Constitution is followed, which it is not under these circumstances.
This illegal executive action will place a burden on the States that the action is taking place against, such as my home State of Texas, where the amnesty proclamation by the executive branch, through its memo, has been in effect. The Federal Government is not going to pay for the benefits of these 5 million-plus folks. The States will be forced, required, and obligated to pay for that. So the States will pay for the driver’s licenses, government benefits, and health care benefits for these newly legalized individuals.
All of the money the State spends will be taken away from the ability to provide services for U.S. citizens and residents who are already legally in the U.S. This action is in direct contravention of U.S. law. Texas, my State, will be one of the hardest-hit. That is why the Governor of the State of Texas was the first to file a lawsuit—this lawsuit— against the unconstitutional action by the executive branch of government. And that occurred in 2014. The Constitution, to me, is very simple. It lays out an outline for democracy. Congress makes the laws; the executive branch faithfully executes the laws; and the judiciary resolves disputes between government, other entities, and between the branches of government. So, if U.S. immigration law is going to be changed, the Constitution states that it should be changed by the U.S. Congress. That is us.
Even if the Congress doesn’t act, that doesn’t give the executive branch Burger King authority. The Burger King philosophy is: the President wants it his way. He can’t have it his way. He has got to follow the Constitution. He is a former constitutional law professor. He ought to know better. That is what this lawsuit is about. That is why it is a constitutional issue.
And that is why we should join in with those other Governors in filing this lawsuit with an amicus brief to support the Constitution of the United States against executive memos from the executive branch. The executive branch should take care of the Constitution, not tear up the Constitution. That is just the way it is.