Congress must act immediately to stop President Barack Obama's proposed use of executive power to help millions of illegal immigrants, Sen. Jeff Sessions says.
Sessions, a member of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, fears that without congressional action, the laws set down by the Founding Fathers will be altered forever.
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"It would be if Congress doesn't utilize every power it has, particularly the power of the purse, to stop it. Then it would be an incredible assertion of executive power vis-à-vis Congress," the Alabama Republican said Monday on Newsmax TV's
"The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"[It would] alter the constitutional framework in a way that the founders would never have accepted. Plain law says if you're in this country illegally, you're subject to deportation and you are unable to work lawfully in our country."
Sessions' warning came as White House officials revealed that the commander in chief is planning for a large-scale expansion of rights for illegal immigrants, including rights to apply for jobs.
Obama's plan would be enacted by executive order.
"These workers would be given a work authorization and be able to take any job in America at a time where we are hurting — workers are hurting for a lack of jobs," Sessions said.
"It makes no sense and it also would weaken the rule of law and really undermine any moral integrity, any moral strength that we have, to have enforcement of any law at the border, frankly."
He said the president's proposed executive order, which could grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, would be "one of the most dramatic overreaches of executive power certainly, since I've been in Congress — and maybe in the last 100 years."
Sessions also lamented Democratic proposals to "throw billions of dollars" at the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, without taking "any of the actions in reforms" needed to help.
"Of course, truly if the president utilizes current law, we wouldn't be in this crisis. It's because they failed to follow our current law, a long-established law, that we've had this surge," Sessions said.
"So, one of the things that will be happening is the Democrats will attempt to move a supplemental funding bill for the border crisis, and the Congressional Budget Office has said they only plan to spend about $25 million of that this fiscal year. That's through Sept. 30 so really, there's no rush."
While some Republican lawmakers have called for the president's impeachment, Sessions veers away from that route.
"What Congress needs to do is not be focused on that. Congress has a power. Congress needs to put in any legislation that passes and no legislation should pass without this language … no money of the United States can be expended to execute any such amnesty or work authorization. Period."
Sessions urged citizens of all political parties to contact their representatives and express concern about the proposed executive order.
"What I'm asking the American people to do is ask their representatives, Democrats and Republicans, 'do you support this? Will you support the president's unlawful amnesty assertion of power? And will you oppose it?'" he said.
"[Sen.] Ted Cruz [R-Texas] offered a good bill. It basically says if you go forward you cannot use any taxpayer dollar to carry out such an unlawful policy, and that would work. It would have to have bipartisan support, and I can't see why it would not.
"Why wouldn't Democrats oppose this? Aren't they members of Congress? Don't they know that Congress has passed a law saying something different and the president's saying and asserting that he's going to just do this anyway?''
On Monday, Sessions also took his effort to stop any executive order to the floor of the U.S. Senate.
"We are entering a momentous week," Sessions said, "as Congress must face the reality that President Obama is moving toward a decision whereby he would issue executive orders in direct contravention of long-established American law."
Amnesty by executive order "would be in contravention of his duty and his oath to see that the United States are faithfully enforced — and it would be a direct challenge to the clear powers of Congress to make laws!"
"The president's actions are astonishing," he said. Obama is "taking our nation into exceedingly dangerous waters ... Such calculated action strains the constitutional structure of our republic."
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