Alabama Officials Rally Behind Trump On Illegal Aliens Issue
“Congress shall have the power. . .To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization. . .” U.S. Constitution. Article I, §8, cl. 4.
This limit, ratified in 1788, expressly confers Constitutional power over the laws of naturalization exclusively to Congress. The Constitution then goes on to parcel off segments of power to the Judicial and Executive branches in later article’s, reaffirming that they intended each part of our government to carry out a specific task.
It’s for this reason that so many in Congress were antagonistic towards President Obama’s executive order directing the formation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In a move that completely bypassed Congress, DACA shielded illegal immigrants from deportation and entitled them Social Security benefits, effectively naturalizing them without Congress casting a single vote.
As we reported yesterday, at the President’s behest, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the DACA program will be unwound, but the administration is giving Congress six months to fix the issue. Shortly after the announcement, Alabama lawmakers made clear that they stand behind the President’s decision.
Speaking to the media about his thoughts on the roll-back of DACA, Alabama’s ranking Senator, Richard Shelby said,
“I stand with the attorney general and the administration on their current plan. When President Obama enacted this program through executive action, he bypassed Congress and acted outside of his Constitutional authority. This was a blatant misuse of his power.”
Members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation agreed, but Rep. Byrne reinforced the idea that the program must be addressed legislatively, i.e., only with the consent of Congress. As Byrne said:
“Congress certainly needs to fix our nation’s broken immigration system, but that must start with securing our borders, boosting internal security, and putting the American people first,” . “Congress, and only Congress, can pass those laws, but I would welcome the advice of the president and the attorney general on what those laws should provide.”
Coming back from a nearly five-week Congressional recess and with a docket jammed full of critical legislation, Senator Luther Strange believes Congress has got to act on DACA as it simultaneously addresses other issues. In an interview with Fox News, Strange said,
“The President makes the best point—Congress should address this issue. I’m in the camp, and maybe it’s a small camp, that believes we can do more than one thing at a time.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt made it clear that Congress is sympathetic to the needs of immigrant children but emphasized that any strategy on immigration must not run afoul of federal law.
“I…believe most Americans, are sympathetic to the children brought to this country at a young age, many only a few months old. However, at the same time, you have to remember that the parents are responsible for the children’s lack of legal status, not the government. The government has a responsibility to enforce the laws on the books.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, charged with enforcing Alabama’s law, also believes the President made the correct policy decision.
“I am proud that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions agreed with me that the DACA program is ‘an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Only Congress has the authority to make U.S. immigration law. The Trump Administration’s action is a victory for the Constitution and the rule of law and it restores Congress’s rightful role in overseeing U.S. immigration policy. Only the Legislative Branch of the Federal government can decide whether programs like DACA should become immigration law. That question is now back in the hands of Congress.”