Rep. Lamar Smith: Obama Deportation Order 'Overrules Courts'

Monday, 22 Aug 2011 12:53 PM

By Martin Gould

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New rules designed to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants who keep to the law once they are here will supersede court orders, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith contends.

Even when a judge has ordered an alien to leave the country, the government can overturn it, the Texas Republican said during a radio interview.

“This is clearly amnesty,” Smith told talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo on San Antonio’s WOAI News Radio. “It is clearly circumventing the right of Congress to try to implement policy.

“They can even reverse a final order by a judge who has told an individual that they have got to leave the country. Even that can be reversed and that individual may not be sent home.”

Story continues below video.

The new rules, which were introduced by executive order after the administration felt if could not get them through Congress, state that deportations should be focused on “criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety and repeat immigration law violators.”

Smith told Pagliarulo that Obama didn’t try to push the measure through Congress when Democrats had the majority in both chambers because there was so much bipartisan opposition.

“He didn’t do it. He is trying to make up for lost time, but it’s too little, too late,” he said.

The president “believes in a super-powerful, centralized federal government and that is what he wants whether or not Congress goes along and whether or not the American people go along,” Smith said.

Obama’s penchant for executive orders is worrisome, Smith said, adding, “What he can’t do legislatively, he tries to do administratively or through executive order.

“That’s fine if you don’t live in a democracy. It’s not fine in the United States of America where he has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the law and not just to pick and choose which laws to enforce. He needs, as president of the United States, to make sure all laws are faithfully executed and that is really troublesome.”

Smith repeated the comment of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that the new order is a presidential jobs plan — but only for illegal aliens. “They are likely to be given work authorization, which means they’re going to compete directly with unemployed Americans,” he said.

And he said Republicans in the House now have two options to try to overturn the effects of the order. One way is for oversight hearings. “We can pull in administration officials, make them testify under oath, find out what’s going on, try to embarrass the president and push back and get the American people on our side.”

The second is for the House to defund the efforts completely, but he said the downside with that is that such action would have to be renewed annually.

“Frankly, the long-term solution if you don’t like what the president’s doing is you have an opportunity in a year and a half to change presidents — and that’s ultimately where the answer is.”

Obama’s action smacks of an attempt to shore up support in the Hispanic community where polls show he is losing millions of voters, Smith said. But that wouldn’t work, he said.

“Latinos are smart enough not to be bought off by these kinds of tactics. This is a game. They know they are being pandered to. That’s a sign of disrespect . . . They see through the motive as totally political, trying to get their votes one way or the other and I don’t think they are going to fall for it.”

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