Washington, Sep 8 -
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Mr. Speaker, I come today to talk to you about something pretty basic--that is our Constitution, the way our Constitution was set up. We all learned in civics that this body, Congress, writes the laws for the people.
Down the street the Supreme Court interprets that law, they judge that law. And the executive branch is the branch of government that we expect through our Constitution to execute the law or enforce the law. In fact, our Constitution in article 2 states specifically about the President and gives the President a job and a duty that no other person in this country has under our Constitution.
Besides taking the oath to uphold the Constitution, article 2, section 3, says that the President shall "take care that the laws be faithfully executed", that the laws are in the hands of the President, and he is to take care that he fulfills his obligation to execute those laws, to follow those laws. That's the way our Constitution is set up, but that is not occurring. Because, you see, we have laws in this country that this body has passed that the administration doesn't want to enforce.
In fact, recently, the administration sent down an edict through its administrative agencies and said no longer will the President be the chief enforcer of the law. He will, in my opinion, become the chief ignorer of the law, the immigration laws. Because, you see, Immigration Services has decided, well, we are really not going to enforce the law that applies to all of those people that are here in the United States illegally.
So we are going to defer action. What does that mean? Here's what it means, Mr. Speaker. It means that people who have been charged with being in the country illegally, who are waiting for their hearings, waiting to be deported, they are going to get a pass if they haven't committed some serious crime or some other condition that Immigration Services has outlined.
And if people are in this country illegally and they haven't committed a violent crime, well, they are going to get a pass too. They are not going to be deported because the law will not be enforced. The action of prosecuting them will be deferred indefinitely.
Now, whether it's a good idea or not to let certain people stay in the country because of certain reasons is not the issue. The issue is Congress has not authorized this so-called prosecutorial discretion. I was a prosecutor, many Members were prosecutors. Before I was a judge, I was a prosecutor.
Prosecutorial discretion means this: A case comes before the prosecutors's office and you read the case and you find out, hey, this person may not be guilty or there is no evidence to prove they did this. So you dismiss that case because the person is innocent.
The law sets up reasons for why there is prosecutorial discretion, but not so anymore. The Administration has written execeptions to the law. There are 20 reasons, Immigration Services says--by no means these are exhaustive--why people should not be deported any longer.
What that means is Immigration Services has given a list of reasons, well, we are not going to deport these people for these reasons. They don't have that authority. Congress writes the laws, not the administration. And just because the administration doesn't like the law gives them no authority to say we are going to ignore certain laws for this reason. I notice that this memo that came out from Immigration Service came out while Congress was in recess.
The chief enforcer of the law has the duty to enforce the rule of law. We write them, the President enforces it. Whether the President, the administration, Immigration Services likes it or not, they are going to enforce the rule of law and not come out with some memo saying, well, here are some exceptions to the law, we are just not going to get around to deporting people because of these numerous reasons.
In essence, the administration has altered the law by edict--or by memo in this case. It is the obligation of the chief enforcer of the law to enforce the rule of law, not to give a pass to certain people that are in this country illegally because of certain reasons. I don't know the reason why the President has made this decision. People can conjecture up their own reasons why certain folks are getting a pass.
But it is great news for people who are in the country illegally. It's great news for people who are coming to the country illegally. The Government is saying: "It's okay to stay in America as long as you don't commit some serious crime in the United States." And it is an obligation of the President to enforce the law, enforce the immigration laws that we write and not become the chief ignorer of the laws.
And that's just the way it is.