Republican party members in the House of Representatives were on the attack yesterday, bombarding Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson with angry questions about President Obama’s decision to enact immigration reform through the use of his executive authority. Johnson was unmoved by their passion, however, and defended the president’s actions.
Obama’s plans will see more than four million undocumented immigrants protected from deportation and given work permits under certain conditions. Texas Republican representative Michael McCaul called the president’s decision “an end run around Congress” that would see even more undocumented immigrants trying to illegally enter the country. “If we don’t think that message is making its way back to Mexico and Central America, we are simply fooling ourselves,” he declared.
Johnson was unmoved by the rhetoric, however, saying that the president had the legal right to take action and that amnesty has less to do with his plans than simple common sense. “The reality is that, given our limited resources, these people are not, and have not been for years, prioritized for removal,” he pointed out. “It is time we acknowledge that and encourage them to be held accountable.”
Johnson also attacked House Republicans for their failure to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, which is something that the Senate managed to do in the middle of last year. House Speaker John Boehner says that meetings have been held to decide what action to take over the president’s actions, which he insists are a breach of the Constitution.