Senate Appropriations Committee Urged to De-Fund Amnesty "Working Group"
(October 31, 2011 — Washington, D.C.) - In a letter addressed to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) calls upon the panel to “exercise its authority, including the power of the federal purse strings, to reassert its constitutional prerogatives over U.S. immigration policy.” More than two months after the Obama Administration announced sweeping, unlegislated changes to U.S. immigration policy, the United States Senate has failed to take definitive steps to halt the Executive Branch’s usurpation of congressional authority.
The letter specifically calls for the Appropriations Committee to bar the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from diverting money to fund an interagency task force with the Department of Justice. The purpose of the task force is to review 300,000 pending deportation cases with the intent of dismissing many, if not most of those cases. “The Appropriations Committee must immediately defund the secretive and unauthorized interagency task force whose stated purpose is to identify unlawful aliens who will be allowed to remain in the United States in direct contravention of laws passed by Congress,” states the letter.
“Congress, through the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, painstakingly determined how money should be spent to carry out U.S. immigrations laws,” noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Yet, the Administration has decided, without seeking approval from Congress, to spend billions of dollars as it sees fit, pursing its own agenda of dismissing hundreds of thousands of deportable illegal aliens. It is up to the Appropriations Committees to exercise their oversight responsibilities to ensure that DHS resources are spent as Congress has determined, not in pursuit of the Administration’s political objectives.”
Key House leaders, including the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), have challenged the Administration’s policy and diversion of funds, but the Senate leadership has thus far failed to respond. In a strongly worded letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on July 5, Aderholt joined Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in warning the Administration not to overstep its authority and implement immigration policy changes outlined in a series of memos authored by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton. Those warnings were ignored.
“The silence from the other side of the Hill has been deafening, and it is time for the Senate to assert its constitutional authority over how our immigration policies are made and how federal monies are spent,” Stein said. “The process begins with the Senate Appropriations Committee, which must block the expenditure of funds that the Department intends to use to pursue policies that were never approved by Congress.”
“Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration’s policy goals, our Constitution makes it very clear that our immigration policies are set by the Legislative Branch. It is equally clear that Congress determines how federal money is spent. It is the responsibility of Congress to block the Administration’s unconstitutional power grab, beginning with the committees that appropriate funds. The House has taken the first step and we are calling upon the Senate Appropriations Committee to act to protect the integrity of our immigration policy and our constitutional process,” concluded Stein.
Read the full letter to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security here.