By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, June 30, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R) from Haleyville warned that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding along the Nation’s southern border and blamed, “Misguided presidential policies,” for creating that crisis.
Congressman Aderholt wrote in an email to constituents that, “An absolutely stunning humanitarian crisis is unfolding along the southwest border due to the signal that the President’s misguided ‘deportation policies’ have sent to the Central American people. In just the month of May alone, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that some 9,000 unaccompanied minors crossed over the United States’ southern border under the misguided belief that if they touch American soil, they can stay.”
U.S. Representative Aderholt said, “House Republicans have urged the President to: (1) detain recent border crossing families in shelters near the Southwest border; (2) expedite immigration proceedings to determine whether these families have arrived illegally; (3) expedite deportation procedures for those who are not eligible for an immigration benefit, including those who make false claims of credible fear; and (4) broadcast public service announcements on U.S.-based, Spanish-speaking television to warn of the deprivations and dangers to anyone who attempts to cross from Central America through Mexico to the United States.”
Rep. Aderholt told constituents, “We must make sure we don’t let this situation get out of hand, and you can be assured that I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.”
President Obama said, “For more than a year, Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to allow an up-or-down vote on that Senate bill or any legislation to fix our broken immigration system. And I held off on pressuring them for a long time to give Speaker Boehner the space he needed to get his fellow Republicans on board.”
The President continued, “Meanwhile, here’s what a year of obstruction has meant. It has meant fewer resources to strengthen our borders. It’s meant more businesses free to game the system by hiring undocumented workers, which punishes businesses that play by the rules, and drives down wages for hardworking Americans. It’s meant lost talent when the best and brightest from around the world come to study here but are forced to leave and then compete against our businesses and our workers. It’s meant no chance for 11 million immigrants to come out of the shadows and earn their citizenship if they pay a penalty and pass a background check, pay their fair share of taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line. It’s meant the heartbreak of separated families. That’s what this obstruction has meant over the past year. That’s what the Senate bill would fix if the House allowed it to go to a vote.”
President Obama said, “Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes-or-no vote on this bill or, for that matter, any bill. They’d be following the will of the majority of the American people who support reform. Instead, they’ve proven again and again that they’re unwilling to stand up to the tea party in order to do what’s best for the country. And the worst part about it is a bunch of them know better.”
President Obama said, “We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a surge of unaccompanied children arrive at the border, brought here and to other countries by smugglers and traffickers.”
The President said, “Today, I sent a letter to congressional leaders asking that they work with me to address the urgent humanitarian challenge on the border, and support the immigration and Border Patrol agents who already apprehend and deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants every year. And understand, by the way, for the most part, this is not a situation where these children are slipping through. They’re being apprehended. But the problem is, is that our system is so broken, so unclear that folks don’t know what the rules are.”
Pres. Obama said, “I believe Speaker Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill. I think he genuinely wants to get something done. But last week, he informed me that Republicans will continue to block a vote on immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year. Some in the House Republican Caucus are using the situation with unaccompanied children as their newest excuse to do nothing. Others in the Republican Caucus in the House who are arguing that they can’t act because they’re mad at me about using my executive authority too broadly. This also makes no sense. I don’t prefer taking administrative action. I’d rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face. Certainly that’s true on immigration. I’ve made that clear multiple times. I would love nothing more than bipartisan legislation to pass the House, the Senate, land on my desk so I can sign it. That’s true about immigration, that’s true about the minimum wage, it’s true about equal pay. There are a whole bunch of things where I would greatly prefer Congress actually do something. I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing. And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future.”
Pres. Obama announced, “So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act –- and I hope their constituents will too -– America cannot wait forever for them to act. And that’s why, today, I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”
The President said that he is directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to move available and appropriate resources from our interior to the border. Secondly the President has, “Directed Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Holder to identify additional actions my administration can take on our own, within my existing legal authorities, to do what Congress refuses to do and fix as much of our immigration system as we can. If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours.”
President Obama said, “So I’ve told Speaker Boehner that even as I take those steps that I can within my existing legal authorities to make the immigration system work better, I’m going to continue to reach out to House Republicans in the hope that they deliver a more permanent solution with a comprehensive bill. Maybe it will be after the midterms, when they’re less worried about politics. Maybe it will be next year. Whenever it is, they will find me a willing partner.”
“If House Republicans are really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills. Pass a bill; solve a problem. Don’t just say no on something that everybody agrees needs to be done. Because if we pass a bill, that will supplant whatever I’ve done administratively. We’ll have a structure there that works, and it will be permanent. And people can make plans and businesses can make plans based on the law. And there will be clarity both here inside this country and outside it.”
Following his re-election in 2012, President Obama made passage of immigration reform one of his two major legislative priorities. The other, massive new regulations on who can own firearms and what kind of firearms they will be allowed to own or possess, stalled in the U.S. Senate in 2013. The Democratic Party controlled U.S. Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill in 2013 that would give a path to citizenship to most of the twelve million illegal aliens who are already living here and would double the level of legal immigrants to two million per year. While the country was built on immigrants the percentage of Americans who were born in some other country, has quadrupled since 1970……and the President wants massive increases in the current high levels of immigration.
There is no stronger opponent to President Obama’s radical immigration reforms than Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama. Sen. Sessions recently wrote in an opinion piece for Breitbart News, “What about Americans who need jobs? Human beings are not commodities. We need to get our own workers off of unemployment and into good-paying jobs that can support their families. That means if a job is hard or strenuous, employers should raise wages and improve working conditions – why shouldn’t Americans who do tough work get paid more for their efforts?”
Republican immigration reform supporters are hopeful that they can pass some version of the Senate immigration bill by the end of the year. Meanwhile thousands of children, most of them teen boys are filling military bases near the border while the Obama Administration ponders what to do with them.
Congressman Robert Aderholt represents Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District. He is seeking a tenth term in the United States Congress.