What does it say about someone that sponsors a bill acknowledging “I don’t want to take the power away from the presidency; I want to take the power away from this President” ?
That’s the message behind the HR 2497 … the HALT Act … as the bill only suspends statutory provisions and the discretionary authority until the next president is inaugurated.
In other words, this bill seeks to undermine President Obama’s power and not the power of the presidency itself.
John Kline (R-MN-02) is “playing politics” …. and the pawns are victims of domestic abuse, military spouses, children, etc.
The Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act, the HALT Act, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX-21), would strip the Obama administration of prosecutorial discretion in the deportation of illegal immigrants even though the Obama administration deported over a million unauthorized immigrants.
To be clear: The bill does not restrict the authority of the presidency, it restricts the authority of this president.
The Obama administration “can’t be trusted with these powers,” Smith said
as Executive power would be restored on Jan. 22, 2013, the day after Obama’s first term ends.
Mr. Kline, Mr. Smith and the other 43 co-sponsors of HALT are proof of the Do-Nothing Congress and not the Pillars of a New Majority promoted by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-08).
Mr. Smith has already had one hearing on this proposal –which if enacted, would surely be vetoed.
While this is clearly a waste of Congressional resources, the overriding concern is that Mr. Kline, and the other supporters, callous disregard for protecting life … recall Mr. Boehner’s assertion that “Our members feel very strongly about the sanctity of human life” … yes, the Republican leadership is very concerned about the unborn, but once alive, you’re on your own … even if you are a victim of domestic violence.
Mr. Kline and his fellow Republicans priorities are askew … acknowledging that there are people in our country illegally, shouldn’t the deportation priority be on those that provide the greatest threat ?
A program known as Secure Communities enlists local law enforcement to identify illegal immigrants who violate the law so they can be deported. John Morton, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has instructed his agency to use discretion in deportation. In effect, his order focuses deportation on people who are caught entering illegally at the border or who have serious criminal records while granting “deferred action” to individuals who are a low enforcement priority.
The HALT legislation sponsored by Mr. Kline changes the rules, thus preventing immigration authorities from making common sense decisions based on the equities in individual cases except under the most narrow of circumstances.
For example, eliminating hardship waivers for family reunification of unauthorized spouses and children of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents … the undocumented wife (who possibly was brought into our country as a baby and is now an adult) of a citizen soldier returning from the war in Afghanistan, for example, would be barred from the United States for at least 10 years without any recourse whatsoever.
And there are other circumstances that warrant leniency or special consideration … for example, victims of domestic violence.
Consider this … a victim of domestic violence calls the police for help, the Secure Communities program allows local law enforcement officers to share the fingerprints of detainees with an ICE database. Ultimately, this could lead to victims being deported … and separation from their children … and re-enforces the power of the abuser that calling the police may lead to losing parental rights.
For fifteen years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been used as a process by which undocumented women or children can come forward and petition for legal status so that they aren’t forced to stay with an abusive spouse or parent.
When their self-petition is approved, and have already proven they are a victim and married this person in good faith, the Immigration Service gives them deferred action. That is not a legal status, but a protection from deportation, and provides a means to apply for work authorization.
By ending deferred action, the HALT Act would strip immigration authorities of their authority to protect victims.
Ironically, Chairman Smith previously urged caution … in 1999, he wrote “True hardship cases call for the exercise of discretion,” in cases of immigrants who had jobs and families in the U.S. or close relatives who were citizens.
George W. Bush campaigned as a “Compassionate Conservative” and used the Executive authority granting “temporary protected status” for illegal immigrants who face serious risks at home because of war or natural disaster to stay in America.
Mr. Kline antics are blatantly politically motivated … and politically poor policy … and void of compassion.