COLUMNS

Why I voted against Obama's plan for amnesty

Staff Writer
Glen Rose Reporter

A vote for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015 was a vote for President Barack Obama’s plan to protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

From rewriting environmental law and immigration policy to most recently proposing a ban on certain sporting ammunition he finds unpalatable this president has time and again demonstrated that he feels the legislative branch is beneath him.

Our president has bullied, disrespected and taunted a Congress that is by law an equal to his executive branch. When it was time to take this vote, I could not fold my hand to a president who thinks the Constitution does not apply to him. I could not give in to a president who prefers to create law rather than enforce it – not to mention, refuse to enforce law that directly affects my district and Texas.

As a representative of a border state I am well aware that the president’s immigration announcements, such as his executive action plan, encourage continued illegal immigration.

I have previously cited the released internal Border Patrol memo, which the Washington Post reported, “There is growing evidence that a surge of tens of thousands of Central American minors across the Mexican border into Texas is being driven in large part by the perception they will be allowed to stay under the Obama administration’s immigration policies.”

My vote was a vote against Obama’s amnesty plan. It was a vote to preserve our nation’s balance of power. It was neither a vote to send a message nor was it a vote to obstruct. My vote would have deployed a constitutionally granted tool to ensure Texas does not fall victim to immigration policy drafted by someone who lives in a 50,000-square foot mansion more than 1,500 miles from our southern border.

It is the opinion of many that our nation’s leader is not very good at “leading.” He does not communicate with lawmakers unless he has to and playing mediator to conflicting parties is his worst nightmare.

Had this spending bill not passed, the president would have had to remove himself from his pedestal, sit down at the negotiating table and be forced to do his job.

Should the president have continued to refuse to engage in talks with lawmakers he, and only he, would have been faulted for a shut down.

Two weeks have passed since the DHS funding bill came to the House floor for a vote. Since then newspapers have called my vote hypocritical and “shortsighted” because some have claimed that a DHS shutdown would have jeopardized U.S. national security.

To this charge I cite House Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer who voted for the bill yet admitted that even if the bill failed and a shutdown were to take place all essential DHS employees who are on the front lines would still work.

In fact, out of the DHS’s 230,000 employees all but 30,000, who are mostly in administrative roles, would continue to report to their posts.

Every time there has been a federal government shutdown Congress has always granted back pay to furloughed federal employees.

Our nation’s founders included mechanisms in our Constitution, like Congress’ “power of the purse,” to help keep our three branches of government in check, and these mechanisms should be used to ensure our government operates as it was intended.

To prematurely fold a hand before all cards are dealt, in order to save face, is in itself shortsighted. To think that another showdown between this president and Congress won’t happen again is ignorant. Why wouldn’t the president circumvent Congress again? After all we keep letting him have his way.