Huizenga says Congress is considering response to Obama’s immigration executive order
Ludington Daily News – Steve Begnoche, November 23, 2014
Congressman Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, says members of Congress are trying to understand what exactly President Barack Obama’s immigration executive order means and just how far it goes before deciding how to respond.
“Everybody is trying to take a deep breath and figure out what it is and what it isn’t and what we can and can’t do,” he told the Daily News Friday.
Congress will spend the next week out of Washington, D.C. for the Thanksgiving holiday before returning to resume its deliberation on a response to the executive order that allows illegal aliens in the nation with children and minor aliens brought here by others to stay for the next two years if they meet certain filing requirements.
The president’s announcement included a couple curve balls, Huizenga said.
He, like most Republicans, questions if the president has the authority to do what he did, saying that gets very iffy when it comes to issuing work permits.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the president’s authority on health care that could be expanded to include the immigration decision, Huizenga said. The Republican-controlled House had authorized the lawsuit earlier, but Boehner waited until the immigration order to file it.
Huizenga said that even Obama previously questioned the authority of the president to order changes.
“I agree with him earlier when he said he doesn’t have the authority to do this. He or someone helped change his mind,” Huizenga said. “That really is the heart of the problem. The president is trying to go forward without any kind of legislative process.”
Obama and Democrats counter that the House Republicans have not taken up a Senate passed immigration reform bill that many say would pass the House with some, if limited, bipartisan support if allowed to be voted upon.
Huizenga isn’t so sure that is so.
“I don’t think it would pass the House,” he said. “It’s a bipartisan bill, but it’s not a bicameral bill.”
He said the Senate has told the House it can make no changes to the stalled bill. Obama threatened to veto it if the House made changes, too, he said. The demands he said illustrates how the Democratic-controlled Senate works.
“The bottom line is there was not the support in our conference to move ahead with a bill like that,” he said.
Huizenga said immigration reform is needed and the current immigration law presents problems to agriculture in west Michigan and high tech industries.
“My preference is to go after it in a step-by-step process,” he said.
One issue that needs to be tackled is border security.
Huizenga said he agreed with Obama’s call Thursday night for higher pay for border patrols.
“There are some things we aren’t that far apart on,” he said. “We have to go in fix the ag part of this in west Michigan. There are not enough visas to allow people to move back and forth freely to serve the needs here. We have to fix the high tech side.
“We still have the thorny issue of what do we do with the people who are here.”
He agrees with Obama that minors who had no choice when brought here represent a different issue than an adult who knew they were breaking the law when sneaking across the border into the U.S.
“There are solutions out there,” Huizenga said.
He said it’s unclear whether the current Congress will come up with a response to Obama’s order or if a response will wait until the new Congress is seated in January. Then Republicans will control both the House and the Senate.
No matter what, he said, rhetoric should cool.
“Everybody needs to grow up here a little bit and try to solve these issues,” he said. “That is frustrating to me and a number of my colleagues … We need to dial down everybody’s rhetoric.”