Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross for Congress

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross says Obama’s actions undermine immigration reform

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U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross says Obama’s actions undermine immigration reform

“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.” — President Barack Obama, March 28, 2011

What changed Mr. President?

Three years ago, our commander in chief expressed his understanding of the law and of how our forefathers set up the three branches of government. Now, he is deliberately undermining the law that he swore to uphold when he was elected president.

After the midterm elections he stood before the American people proclaiming that he heard the American voter and was fully prepared to work with Congress. Thereafter, the president went further and explained his “unique responsibility to try to make this town work.”

President Barack Obama’s decision to use executive action and implement an immigration overhaul, circumventing Congress and ignoring the will of the American people, is not only “unique,” but contrary to America’s system of government. This go-it-alone attitude and threat to undermine the law, ignoring those who elected him into office, is egregious and nothing more than a power grab. It will also cause irreparable harm toward any efforts of reforming our immigration system.

I have repeatedly said that the best way to properly address immigration reform is incrementally by first strengthening the security of our nation’s borders, not by changing the law on behalf of undocumented immigrants. Without first securing the border, immigrants will continue to easily enter our country with the hope of another executive order down the road.

After the president used executive action in 2012 that allowed children who illegally entered the United States before 2007 to remain in the country, young immigrants swarmed our Southwestern border in hopes of similar treatment. By the conclusion of this year, nearly 90,000 unaccompanied minors will have illegally crossed our borders.

The president’s latest executive order will further encourage immigrants to make a treacherous and often deadly journey to our country.

Rather than gamble away our national security by granting massive amnesty rights while failing to secure our border, the president should work with Congress to find a proper strategy to reform our immigration system.

There are a number of steps Congress can take to address immigration reform. As I have advocated in the past, Congress must immediately debate and pass legislation to secure our border. My colleagues and I took an oath to protect the American people. We must do everything within our constitutional power to ensure that promise is fulfilled, and we should do that now. No more waiting. Once our border is secure, Congress should consider incremental legislation that addresses other areas of our immigration system — areas Americans can agree are in need of reforms. We should look at agricultural guest worker programs, strengthening our E-Verify system and additional areas of visa reform.

President Obama’s approach to immigration reform has prevented any real national debate on this important public policy matter. Instead, Congress must act now to take the lead on and deliberate immigration policy that addresses the concerns of the American people.

Dennis Ross is a GOP member of Congress representing District 15, which includes eastern Hillsborough and western Polk counties.