Lankford: President Obama was right the first time

Washington — U.S. Representative James Lankford (R-Okla.) expressed disappointment Thursday (November 20) after the President issued an Executive Action to unlawfully defer deportation of approximately five million undocumented individuals currently in the United States.

‘The President is trying to illegally legalize illegal individuals,” said Lankford. “This declaration crosses the line into legal gymnastics.”

On July 1, 2010, the President spoke about immigration and the need for legislation to resolve the many immigration issues we face as a nation. During the speech he stated:

“…There are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws. And often this argument is framed in moral terms: 

Why should we punish people who are just trying to earn a living? I recognize the sense of compassion that drives this argument, but I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. 

And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship. 

And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.”

Lankford observed, “Many times over the past six years, the President has stated immigration must be resolved in law, not in Executive Action. He was right. 

Now, because the political negotiations are growing more difficult, the President has punted his previous stand on the law and has invented a new Executive ability to act when Congress does not pass a bill on his time-table.

“The Constitution is clear and the courts have affirmed that the President cannot invent new policy for millions of people. We are a nation of laws. A police officer cannot invent new laws on the street; that would be chaos. The President cannot invent new law from his office; that is chaos. The Department of Homeland Security is not prepared to manage millions of people flooding their offices or the flood of people that will now rush across our border.

“It is apparent that the President is acting now because it was politically toxic to act before the election, and the new Congress will pass immigration reform that focuses on border security first. Obviously the President does not want to do the hard work of negotiating an actual reform, so he has acted in a manner that only a few years ago he called, ‘unwise and unfair.’ The President has a pen and a phone; he should use them to negotiate law, not invent ways to avoid the law.

“The Senate has passed comprehensive immigration reform, and the House has passed a significant border security bill and high-skill work visa reform. The President’s action makes reform harder to negotiate in the next Congress because it is obvious that whichever law is passed, he will only enforce the areas he chooses, instead of faithfully executing the laws of the United States.”

“The American people believe in the rule of law. Our nation does not have a problem with immigration; we have a problem with illegal immigration. Oklahomans understand that when we’re talking about immigration, we’re talking about people and families. Our strong values direct us not to flippantly make federal policies or laws that impact people’s lives, their families or their futures. The President’s Executive Action gives temporary recognition to millions of people and certain uncertainty two years from now for the same people,” concluded Lankford.