Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 3, 2014
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOLDING. Mr. Speaker, the issue is no longer whether Congress and the President can agree on immigration policy. The question is: Does a President have the power to alter our Nation's laws without passing new statutes?

Throughout the history of this great country, since the time of our Founding Fathers, the answer to this question has been ``no.'' Yet President Obama struck a blow to the system of checks and balances that has been at the heart of our government and our Constitution for over 200 years.

The constitutionality of the President's actions are in question as the President has said time and time again that he does not have the constitutional authority to change our Nation's immigration laws on his own. From 2008 up to this August, at least 22 times the President has said that he couldn't ignore the laws on the books or create his own immigration laws.

In 2011, the President said: ``America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that. That's part of my job.

``We've got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch's job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.''

Very well spoken, President Obama, the constitutional scholar that he is.

Mr. Speaker, this is the framework of our Nation's system of checks and balances. The Constitution is clear. It is clear that it is Congress' duty to write the laws, and it is the President's responsibility to enforce them.

While law enforcement agencies do have the inherent power to exercise prosecutorial discretion, the authority as to whether to enforce or not enforce the law against particular individuals, this power must be used judiciously and isn't an invitation to violate or ignore a law in its entirety. By granting amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants, this administration has crossed the line from any justifiable use of its executive authority to a failure to faithfully execute the laws.

Mr. Speaker, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, whether you agree or disagree with the President's policy on illegal immigrants and immigration, you cannot agree with the President's actions. No one is vested with the power to be both President and legislator.