America’s immigration system is broken and on Thursday the President announced his executive actions to fix what he can to help build a system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Our immigration system has been broken for decades. And every day we wait to act, millions of undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows: Those who want to pay taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else have no way to live right by the law. That is why President Obama is using his executive authority to address as much of the problem as he can, and why he’ll continue to work with Congress to pass comprehensive reform.
In the wake of the President’s speech on Thursday, conservative heads are exploding, Fox News is reeling after President Obama’s immigration speech Thursday evening. Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Megyn Kelly and the rest of the peanut gallery are filling the airwaves and internet with
cries whimpers of “illegal” “unconstitutional” “impeach” “imprison” and blah blah blah.
Many in Congress have vowed to defund the actions, even going so far as to threaten a government shutdown. However, the House Appropriations Committee issued a statement of their own on Thursday confirming that Congress is powerless to defund the President’s actions.
The primary agency for implementing the President’s new immigration executive order is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications. Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program. Therefore, the Appropriations process cannot be used to ‘de-fund’ the agency. The agency has the ability to continue to collect and use fees to continue current operations, and to expand operations as under a new Executive Order, without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.