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The White House Decree is Bad for America

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BROOKS. Mr. Speaker, last week, the White House decreed partial amnesty for an estimated 3 million illegal aliens and mandated acceptance of illegal alien work permit applications. The White House decree is bad for America.

First, Mr. Speaker, it is unconscionable for the White House to pit unemployed Americans against illegal aliens in a competition for scarce jobs. In 2009, the Pew Hispanic Center found that 7.8 million struggling American families have already lost job opportunities to illegal aliens. America suffers an 8.2 percent unemployment rate. Even worse, Hispanic Americans suffer an 11 percent unemployment rate. Even worse, African Americans suffer a 14 percent unemployment rate. Even worse, American teenagers suffer a 25 percent unemployment rate. All are hammered by a White House decree that grants as many as 3 million illegal aliens work permits.

I understand heartfelt compassion for illegal aliens, but where is the compassion for millions of Americans who are unemployed and suffering from jobs lost to illegal aliens? Where is the compassion for American taxpayers who must pay higher taxes to support millions of extra unemployed?

Second, the White House decree grants amnesty to illegal aliens. Webster's defines ``amnesty'' as ``the act of an authority, as a government, by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.'' Further, ``pardon'' is defined as ``a release from the legal penalties of an offense.''

A penalty for breaking America's immigration laws is not lawfully getting a job. The White House releases illegal aliens from this penalty; hence, the White House grants amnesty. While the amnesty is admittedly partial, it is amnesty nonetheless.

Third, Mr. Speaker, the 1980s amnesty taught foreigners that America won't enforce its immigration laws. The result is over 10 million illegal aliens in America and an immigration mess that is destructive to America. A 2011 Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform study found that illegal aliens cost American taxpayers a net loss of $99 billion a year. Illegal aliens overcrowd our schools and need costly English interpreters. In 2011, illegal aliens drove up America's K 12 education costs by $49 billion per year. Illegal aliens overcrowd our emergency rooms, delay treatment for Americans, and drive up health care costs. Illegal aliens commit crimes, sometimes heinous, against American citizens and burden taxpayers with higher jail costs. In my home county, more Madison Countians have been killed by illegal aliens than have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Mr. Speaker, amnesty did not solve America's illegal alien problem in the 1980s, nor will it today. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Mr. Speaker, America must never again give blanket amnesty to illegal aliens.

Fourth, Mr. Speaker, the White House decree is of questionable constitutionality. The Constitution states, and I quote article I, section 1, ``all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States,'' and ``the Congress shall have the power ..... to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.'' The Constitution does not empower a President to make law. Hence, the only change to immigration law is as our Constitution demands, through Congress, not by imperial decree.

Mr. Speaker, in 2011, when it was not an election year, President Obama agreed. On March 28, 2011, the President stated:

With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed. The executive branch's job is to enforce and implement those laws. For me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.

Last September the President again stated:

I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. The fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there's been a great disservice done to the cause of the DREAM Act that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It's just not true.

Mr. Speaker, the President's own words speak volumes about the constitutionality of a White House decree that undermines America and the rule of law.

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