|| Constituents of the Fourth District
|| Congressman Randy Forbes
|| February 24, 2015
|| Immigration Memo
This week, Congress and our country are confronted with a question – not just of immigration – but also of the rule of law. While the short term debate is over funding for the Department of Homeland Security and rolling back this Administration's executive actions on immigration, the broader question being considered is whether any president has the authority to selectively enforce and unilaterally rewrite democratically passed laws. Below, I have prepared a brief memo to break down the actions of both the House and the Senate, the process Congress is currently engaged in, and what happens from here.
Every American citizen has a stake in this debate. My hope is that the below memo proves helpful and informative as you engage on this important issue facing our nation.
Yours in service,
The back story…
- In November, 2014, the President announced unilateral actions on immigration, which would allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay and work in the U.S. without a vote of Congress.
- On December 11, 2014, the House passed a bill (H.R. 83) to fund the entire government – with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015. DHS and its sub-agencies are responsible for implementing the President’s executive actions on immigration.
- The President signed this bill into law on December 16, 2014.
What has the House done?
What has the Senate done?
- The Senate has had four failed votes to move the bill to the floor for debate — with the most recent happening just last night. These votes are called “cloture votes” and require a 3/5ths majority to pass (typically 60 votes).
- Since Republicans currently control 54 seats in the Senate, Democratic support is needed to achieve the majority vote required to allow the funding bill to be debated on.
- Senate Democrats are continuing to block the bill and refusing to allow a debate.
How has the judicial branch been involved?
- Last week, a federal judge for the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued an injunction temporarily halting the Administration’s executive actions on immigration.
- The injunction was in response to a federal lawsuit filed by 26 states, challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s immigration actions. I joined with the American Center for Law & Justice in filing an in this lawsuit, arguing the President’s executive action exceeds his constitutional authority.
- In compliance with the federal judge’s order, the Administration has indefinitely postponed the implementation of the President’s executive actions on immigration. However, the White House announced on Friday (February 20th) that the Department of Justice will seek what is known as an “emergency stay” to undo the judge's ruling.
What happens from here?
- The Department of Homeland Security’s funding is set to expire on February 27, 2015.
I joined my colleagues in calling on Senator Reid and Senate Democrats to stop blocking the bill to fund DHS, and allow it to come to a vote. You can read the letter,