This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.
As 25 states sue the Obama administration over the president’s controversial executive amnesty order, an immigration group is urging Congress to join the fight on behalf of taxpayers and the Constitution.
“For six years, the Obama administration has been obsessed with centralizing power but refused to use it to enforce immigration laws. Instead, they’ve focused their efforts on dismantling enforcement and shutting down states that have tried to enact bills reacting to the inaction in Washington,” said Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
“Congress must act, using both legal force and fiscal constraints,” Dane told Watchdog.org.
“The president has a constitutional obligation to ‘take care that the laws Congress writes are faithfully executed,’” he said. “There is no point in having this language in the Constitution unless Congress and the courts recognize their responsibility to hold the president accountable for obeying the law.”
Dane added: “Congress must also act to restore its power to ‘establish a uniform rule of naturalization’ under Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution, meaning Congress makes the laws; the president must carry them out.”
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issued a scathing report over the weekend, declaring that less than 3 percent of illegal immigrants will ever be deported. Last week, theCongressional Research Service announced that illegal immigration began to rise in 2012 after a five-year lull.
Though House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has soft-peddled the immigration issue, some newly elected House Republicans are spoiling for a fight — with or without their party’s current leadership.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a stunning primary victory last year, told Watchdog on Sunday:
“When the new Republican-led Congress takes office this week, one of our first priorities must be to have a clean bill to reverse the amnesty spending by immediately restricting any federal funds from being used to carry out Mr. Obama’s illegal decree.
“There is speculation that there may only be a show vote on rescinding that money, and instead a ‘border security’ bill would be offered as a substitute for stopping amnesty. A border spending bill that doesn’t really strengthen the border and allows illegal immigrants to continue living and working in the United States would only make things worse.
“That is unacceptable,” Brat said.
A showdown over immigration comes as Texas and 24 other states sue the Obama administration over costs they are incurring over the broken southern border. Texas state troopers spent $1.3 million a week this summer dealing with the surge of Central American children, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Mr. Obama has increased the incentives to come here illegally and encouraged people to stay in the expectation of a future executive amnesty,” the newspaper stated in an editorial.
Administration lawyers responded to the lawsuit on Christmas Eve, alleging the states are attempting to usurp the “sovereign prerogative of the federal government.”
But states say they have legitimate grievances and legal standing to fight in court. Dane estimates the states are bearing $84 billion a year in costs related to illegal immigration. The federal portion is estimated at $113 billion annually.
Dane says the Obama amnesty, which legalizes up to 5 million illegal immigrants in the country, can be challenged by the states on monetary grounds.
Federal Earned Income Tax Credits, to cite one example, will now be opened to newly legalized undocumented immigrants. About $62 billion was spent on the EITC program in 2012, with refunds averaging $3,000 per household.
The House of Representatives, which controls the federal purse strings, “has a duty to stand up for the American people when their own president decides to work against them,” Brat said. Brat and other conservative colleagues tried unsuccessfully to defund the amnesty program with an amendment to the Cromnibus spending bill Congress narrowly passed before Christmas.
“There is no doubt that what the president is doing is illegal,” Brat said. “The leadership of both parties admitted it, and even the president himself admitted it. House members must be committed to ensure an amnesty defund bill passes.”
Muzaffar Chishti, who directs the New York office of the Migration Policy Institute, said Congress could strip funding for the amnesty program from the Department of Homeland Security budget. The president would then have to decide whether to veto that action and effectively defund all DHS operations.
Chishti called the states’ lawsuit “speculative” and “tinged with politics.” Noting that immigration policy falls under federal jurisdiction, he said, “There is no precedent to indicate that the president’s action is not lawful.”