What I Saw During Our Vote To Secure The Border
July 31, 2014, the House decided to stay in DC and work. The Senate had already left town for their August recess. The President held a press conference to let the world know that in his opinion, he found dealing with Congress untenable and the body was dysfunctional because they could not pass a bill to send to him to do what he wanted done— not what the American people wanted, but what he wanted. Therefore, he would take action— executive action— with his pen and tend to the immigration issue.
What the President did not know and what he did not expect to happen was that House leadership and rank and file members had been huddling in the basement of the Capitol late into the night and early that morning to find a path forward to secure the border, repatriate the children, expedite the judicial process and pay for it without breaking the budget caps. We succeeded. Obviously, this success was met by much dismay to the Democrats who put their dismay and incivility on full display in front of the cameras and with audible jeers at the speakers.
Seldom does a member of either party have to be called down for inappropriate behavior on the House floor. The offending member was the Minority Leader who was in the face of Congressman Tom Marino. She did not approve of the comments he made during the debate on the border supplemental. She called them lies. She said repeatedly that he was insignificant.
During the debate on H.R. 5272, my legislation to freeze the DACA program and halt the issuance of work authorizations for those in the country illegally, the Democrat side of the aisle tried to drown out Michele Bachmann and Steve King as they spoke in favor of the bill. They jeered when Ted Poe of Texas described the situation he witnessed on the border with people from around the world rushing to and thru the southern border to try to get to America to get amnesty from this President. They elevated their voices in opposition as Raul Labrador, one of the members who led the conference to a resolution, spoke about the need to take action. They talked over Chairman Goodlatte as he worked to manage the bill on the floor. During my remarks, I twice had to call for order in the chamber so my remarks could be heard over their unruly jeers.
They would clap and cheer for delegating their vote and power to the President, they would cheer that he could and would use his pen. They would cheer in favor of those who are overrunning our border and making a mockery of the Constitution. They were content to make a mockery of their service in order to achieve what they want— amnesty for illegals, special treatment for illegal aliens while hard working American taxpayers are required to pay the bill. They cheered for the status quo— doing nothing is in effect allowing amnesty to continue. They were not even willing to hit the pause button on a program that has caused illegal entry to escalate by a rate of 305% since 2009 with an expected 90,000 illegal entrants expected to hit the southern border by the end of the year and an estimated 142,000 estimated to arrive next year if nothing is done. They were not willing to hit the pause button on the program to stop the coyotes in Central American villages from making promises that can’t be kept and taking the life savings from families for a false hope. Then having children and teens subjected to human trafficking, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, sexual molestation and gang violence. That is what these children endure on the journey. Shame on the Democrats for wanting the status quo and wanting the situation at the border to continue unaddressed.
The action the Republican-led House took with the two immigration-focused pieces of legislation was a stance in support of the Constitution and the Rule of Law. We are for abiding by the Constitution and recognize that Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 enumerates the power of establishing “an uniform process of naturalization” to the Congress. When you read thru the enumerated powers of the President, there is no mention of having a say in establishing that process. The creation of all laws is left to Congress. The power to the President is to fairly implement the law. Here is a question. If a President can enforce a part of a law and delay a part of a law, then does he have a power to not enforce any law he so chooses? If he can allow illegal aliens to freely run across our border, can he force legal citizens out of the country? Where would be the end of his power? We are a nation of laws with respect and recognition of the rule of law. We are not an imperialist government with a monarch abiding by the rule of one man. James Madison once wrote “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” The President is no angel and it is up to Congress and our courts to prevent our government from being ruled by an imperial monarch.
The House took the correct action to pass an immigration bill to address the crisis on the southern border. We took the correct action to freeze a program that was put in place by executive memo of Barack Obama, President of the United States, on June 15, 2012 and implemented on August 15, 2012. It was and remains an unconstitutional action that allows an unlawful act to be carried out every day and this action has turned every town and every state into a border town and a border state. This President caused the border crisis. He has the tools at his disposal to fix the crisis. He has chosen not to address the crisis, not to visit the border but instead to continue to incentivize the border crossings by ignoring the issue and not taking an action. Therefore, since he is not doing his job, we are doing our job and are going to address the situation.
The House took an action. I am hopeful the Senate will join us in returning to DC to address this important issue. To allow the situation to continue is not only unfair to American citizens who live on the southern border but also to the children who are being victimized at the hands of perpetrators.