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Senators to President: Don't Sidestep Congress on Immigration

Express serious concern over new initiatives

Washington, D.C. - Recent immigration policies enacted by the Administration undermine the rule of law, say Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and a group of Republican senators in a letter to the President urging to remand the proposals. 

The directives in question call for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to perform case-by-case reviews, focusing on criminals and public menaces, while closing the books on those not considered a threat.  Additionally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton recently directed the agency to use its "prosecutorial discretion" in deciding which of the pending 300,000 federal deportation cases should be prosecuted.  If DHS determines that a particular individual is not a criminal threat, theycould be granted conditional permanent residency.

In a letter sent to the President yesterday, the senators ask that DHS rescind the proposals dealing with increased use of prosecutorial discretion and abide by existing immigration laws.  They note  it is unjustifiable for the Administration to sidestep Congress to implement policies that are contrary to the law and demand that the President immediately halt any initiative that aims to ensure that illegal immigrants are afforded every possibility to remain in this country. 

"A person should not gain an advantage or benefit toward citizenship or legal permanent resident status as a result of illegal entry into the U.S., as this only encourages further illegal immigration," Crapo said.  "It is essential that any changes in immigration policy be the product of a full and fair debate originating in the halls of Congress-not through an administrative dictate."

"No one should be rewarded for breaking the law and that's exactly what these new directives advocate," said Risch.  "There's no question that our immigration laws need to be reformed, but unilateral action will not achieve the practical, workable system we need."

Congress has defeated similar proposals that would establish paths to citizenship for those who have crossed the U.S. borders illegally.  Granting ICE prosecutors full discretion will allow them to cherry pick which illegal immigrants get to stay and who must be deported, a prime example of backdoor amnesty.  The decision to expand the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in enforcing federal immigration laws means that the Administration will be simply ignoring existing laws.

Along with Crapo and Risch, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Rand Paul (R-Texas), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), John Barasso (R-Wyoming) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) cosigned the letter.