House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) yesterday introduced the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act (H.R. 2497), legislation to prevent the Obama administration from abusing its authority to grant massive administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus, will introduce the companion in the Senate this week.
Over the course of the last year, the Obama administration has sought to circumvent Congress and use executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States. Last month, Administration officials caved to pressure from their liberal base and announced changes to Secure Communities, GOP lawmakers have stressed.
The Secure Communities program keeps neighborhoods safe by identifying illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody who have been arrested and fingerprinted, police officials told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
They claim the changes made by the Administration could open the door to allow millions of illegal and criminal immigrants avoid current immigration laws.
Specifically, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, issued two memos to agency officials on how to exercise “prosecutorial discretion,” such as granting deferred action, deciding whom to stop, question, arrest, or detain, and dismissing a removal proceeding. While this authority is justifiable when exercised responsibly, the Obama administration has made clear that it plans to use this authority recklessly.
“Congress has defeated amnesty for illegal immigrants several times in recent years but this has not stopped President Obama from trying a backdoor amnesty. Over the course of the last year, the Obama administration has ignored the will of Congress and the American people by using executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S," said Congressman Smith.
Adding insult to injury, U.S. taxpayers finance the enormous number of court appeals filed by illegal immigrants — through their taxpayer financed legal counsel — deported for criminal convictions and fraudulent marriages.
The suspected pervasive corruption allows deportable aliens to evade hearings without consequences and permits more than 1 million removal orders to be ignored by the Obama Administration, say officials with Judicial Watch, a public-interest group that investigates public and political corruption.
“While this authority is justifiable when used responsibly, it’s clear this Administration plans not to use but to abuse these powers, warns Rep. Smith.
"If the President gets his way, millions of illegal immigrants will be allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. without a vote of Congress. That is why I have introduced the HALT Act, which will prevent the Obama administration from granting a massive administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants. The Obama administration should not pick and choose which laws it will enforce. Congress must put a halt to this administrative amnesty,” he said.
“The Obama administration has taken steps to pass their amnesty agenda through executive order and completely bypass Congress. In the Senate we’ve already rejected some attempts at granting amnesty for illegal aliens by defeating the DREAM Act in last year’s lame duck session," said Senator Vitter.
"The administration has now taken their amnesty push to new levels by attempting to give DHS officials and other agencies the ability to grant amnesty, which is exactly why we’re introducing the HALT Act. Awarding amnesty over the objections of Congress and the American people would be a slap in the face to taxpayers, and especially to legal immigrants,” he stated.