Jul 19, 2012
Earlier today, Congressman Forbes questioned Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Forbes asked Secretary Napolitano whether she had the ability to circumvent law and use prosecutorial discretion in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.
During his questioning, Congressman Forbes highlighted President Obama's statement previously affirming his inability to unilaterally change immigration laws through executive order. During a town hall event on March 28, 2011, President Obama stated: "With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that's just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed...There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system, that for me through simply an executive order ignore those mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president."
Secretary Napolitano testified that the President did not have the authority to circumvent immigration laws through an executive order. However, Secretary Napolitano exerted prosecutorial discretion to set priorities on enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.
Although President Obama made it clear last year that he was not able to ignore current laws regarding immigration and deportations, one of his Cabinet Secretaries, through the Department of Homeland Security, chose to do what the President said he could not do- granting temporary relief from deportation to young people brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents.
This new policy, announced on June 15, 2012, allows for illegal immigrants brought into the United States under the age of 30 to avoid deportation for a two year period if they meet a series of requirements. Congressman Forbes has expressed disagreement with this order as it completely circumvents the constitutionally granted authority of Congress to enact immigration laws.
Congressman Forbes is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.
To view the complete line of questioning between Congressman Forbes and Secretary Napolitano click here.
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