Bob Goodlatte: Unconstitutional actions must be stopped

bob-goodlatte-afp2Reading the Constitution isn’t something many Americans do on a daily basis. However, in light of President Obama’s announcement that he will act unilaterally to change our immigration laws and shield five million unlawful immigrants from immigration enforcement, perhaps we should take a look at our founding document for a refresher. Article 1 Section 1 of the Constitution states that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” The Congress, not the President, has the power to legislate.

It’s both perplexing and alarming that the President has decided to move forward with executive actions on immigration that he has said on numerous occasions that he didn’t have the constitutional power to take. The President’s decision to recklessly forge ahead with a plan to change our immigration laws on his own ignores the will of the American people and completely disregards the Constitution.

The American people are deeply concerned about the direction of our country, and they went to the polls earlier this month to overwhelmingly reject the Obama Administration’s policies. I’ve heard these concerns when traveling throughout the Sixth District. Rather than listen to the American people and change course, President Obama is going rogue, doubling-down, and driving full speed towards a constitutional crisis. By assuming legislative power and ignoring the limitations placed on his authority, he threatens to unravel our government’s system of checks and balances and endangers individual liberty. These actions also do very little to build the public’s trust of his presidency

Additionally, the President’s shortsighted actions further set back any chance of enacting immigration reform. Democrats and Republicans alike can agree that we have a broken immigration system and it must be fixed. The debate in Congress over the past two years has shown that there is a willingness and need to reform our nation’s immigration system.While there are varying opinions on how to amend our immigration laws, one thing is clear: the President does not have the authority to change our immigration laws by executive decree. It’s disappointing that President Obama has refused to work with the new men and women Americans elected to represent them in Congress.

Ours is not a “my way or the highway” system of government. That’s just not the way it works. The Executive Branch does not have the power to bypass the Congress and the American people to legislate by executive order. Since the President has acted outside the confines of his authority, I will work with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to stop the President’s unconstitutional actions from being implemented.

Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth District in Congress.

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