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Public Statements

Prohibitions Relating to Deferred Action for Aliens

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Virginia, Chairman Goodlatte, for yielding. There are a lot of people in this Congress that I appreciate a great deal tonight, but I have listened to the anger and the fury over on the other side, and I have never seen the Sergeant at Arms have to come and clear the floor like we have seen here tonight.

I am wondering what is this about? I would take this back to the State of the Union Address when I watched the President of the United States here on the rostrum speak, and he said, essentially, the summary of what he has delivered to America a number of times: Congress, I am going to tell you what to do, and if you don't do it, I am going to use either my cell phone or my ink pen, and I am going to do it. Here it goes again, Mr. Speaker.

What I saw was this, our Founding Fathers set up this balance in our Constitution between the three branches of government, articles I, II, and III, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branch of government.

They drew as fine a line as they could between the three, but they always knew that there would be a gray area, and they anticipated that each branch of government would jealously protect the constitutional authority that is vested within it within the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

When the President said, I am going to usurp your legislative authority, I am going to take over article I, and I am going to legislate if you don't do what I tell you, what happened? The people that are applauding now applauded then, and they said, Mr. President, take the power that is in the Constitution, take it from me, take article I, too, take your pen, take your cell phone. You run this country as if you were a king, rather than only the President of the United States.

Mr. Speaker, that is what this debate is about here. This is about the DACA language that the President has introduced 2-plus years ago, and I said then when we had Hill hearings before the Judiciary Committee and Janet Napolitano--I said that we will take you to court on this, this will be litigated.

It will be litigated because the President does not have legislative authority. He is only the President of the United States. If the President wants to somehow grant amnesty to one person, he has some prosecutorial discretion to do that, but they argued in the Morton Memos, and they argued in the DACA memos--seven times in the Morton Memos--on an individual basis only, on an individual basis only, prosecutorial discretion on an individual basis only.

They put it in there seven times because they knew they were wrong, and they knew it was going to be litigated. You don't do 700,000 people on an individual basis only. You don't suspend the law. If the President wants the law changed, he knows to come to Congress, ask us--and ask us, and when you take an oath to uphold the Constitution, you had better believe that it means what it says.

Why would you just throw your authority over the side and say, Mr. President, take this from us? That is not what you pledged to your constituents. That is not the oath that you take.

So what this says is that the DACA language says this: Mr. President, stop violating the Constitution from this point forward. As the chairman said, it does not deport anybody. It just restores constitutional article I authority.


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