WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to weigh in on the Obama Administration's right to claim "prosecutorial discretion" in granting de facto amnesty to at least 1.4 million illegal aliens.
In a letter to General Holder, Rep. Barletta noted that Congress removed "prosecutorial discretion" from federal immigration law in 1996 when it passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrants Responsibility Act. That law clearly spells out the actions that must be taken by federal officials. The discretion that President Obama and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claim they can use no longer exists, because Congress deliberately eliminated it in 1996.
"Your department had jurisdiction over the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) when this law was passed. As the most senior lawyer in our country, I would like to know your opinion about the constitutionality of Secretary Napolitano's actions," Rep. Barletta wrote to General Holder. "If the former INS were still within your department's authority, would you allow a memorandum like this to be implemented?"
In the letter, Rep. Barletta notes the high unemployment rate in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and states the Obama Administration's unilateral policy shift on June 15 will make it harder for the unemployed to find jobs because they will have to compete against illegal aliens for jobs.
Rep. Barletta also asks General Holder to weigh in on the constitutionality of having the Executive Branch unilaterally change American immigration policy.
"Under the provisions of the United States Constitution, it is the Congress that is tasked with creating immigration policy. The Department of Homeland Security's action is in direct violation of that policy, in that this new edict was not approved by the Legislative Branch. Further, when similar measures that would implement these same policies were presented to Congress, Congress rejected them. The implementation of new immigration policy that is contrary to the expressed will of the Congress violates the Constitution. This sets a remarkably dangerous precedent, in that any agency that disagrees with the expressed will of the Congress can simply seek relief from a willing partner in the Executive Branch," he wrote.