Barletta Statement: Supreme Court Blocks Obama Executive Amnesty

Jun 23, 2016
Press Release
4-4 Deadlock Leaves 5th Circuit Ruling in Place: Amnesty Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today issued a statement regarding a 4-4 deadlocked Supreme Court on the case of U.S. v. Texas, leaving standing a lower court ruling that blocked President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants as unconstitutional.  The divided court leaves in place the ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that Obama’s blanket executive actions in November of 2014 violated the separation of powers as laid out in the Constitution. 

The case stems from 26 states which sued to block the Obama actions, which involved his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.  Barletta had signed onto an amicus brief in support of the states.

Barletta led the fight to defund the president’s illegal executive amnesty plans through the passage of an appropriations bill that would have cut funding, largely through an amendment Barletta co-authored, had the bill been signed into law.  The House approved the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with the key amendment known as the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta Amendment.  The House also adopted additional amendments Barletta supported, including one which stops the president’s DACA program, which has abused the practice of prosecutorial discretion on immigration enforcement. 

Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta Amendment

The lead amendment to the DHS appropriations bill was the one authored by Rep. Barletta, Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-4), and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5).  It was the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment which would have specifically defunded President Obama’s executive amnesty. 

The Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment addressed the Obama executive amnesty by:

  • Preventing any funds from any source from being used to carry out the executive actions the president announced on November 20, 2014.
  • Preventing any funds from any source from being used to carry out the so-called “Morton Memos,” which directed immigration officers to ignore broad categories of illegal immigrants.
  • Declaring that no funds may be used to carry out any policies that are substantially similar to the ones being defunded.
  • Declaring that the policies being defunded have no basis in federal law or the Constitution and therefore have no legal effect.
  • Preventing any funds from being used to provide federal benefits to illegal immigrants intended to be impacted by the president’s executive amnesty.

Barletta’s statement is as follows:

“This is tremendous news for the rule of law and a reaffirmation that the people of the United States don’t elect a king – they elect a president and a Congress, each with its own role to play.  From the very beginning, we knew that President Obama had overstepped his authority by granting blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.  This fight is not over, as many of his earlier immigration actions are still in place.

“Obama said it himself at least 22 times: he does not have the legal authority to do what he eventually did, which was to grant amnesty to people who have willfully broken our immigration laws to be present in this country.  Perhaps now the president has gotten the message: just because Congress doesn’t do what you want doesn’t mean you get to do it by yourself.  Congress can speak by refusing to pass a law as well.

“We have immigration laws in this country for two main reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs.  The president’s actions violated both of those principles and were unconstitutional on top of it all.”