Jackson Lee: GOP Opposition to Immigration Action 'an Insult to the American People's Intellect'
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the GOP is delivering "an insult to the American people's intellect" through its opposition to immigration reform.
Jackson Lee, the ranking member on the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee, rallied with local leaders in Houston on Sunday for President Obama's promised executive action on immigration.
The congresswoman argued that schools, hospitals, the arts, businesses and families were suffering because Congress hadn't passed comprehensive immigration reform.
On Saturday, she told CNN that "it's interesting that when it serves the will of the Republican Party, not the will of the American people, they are able to use lame duck politics, they are willing to go against the president."
"But when it serves a broader view, such as comprehensive immigration reform, there is no interest, if you will, in working with the president. It is quite a story for the American people to understand," she said. "Every movement to improve the lives of Americans Republicans have been against. And they have been against it if the president has been for it."
Jackson Lee said "Democrats have been working with Republicans from the moment the president was sworn in" on an immigration reform bill.
"Having served on immigration subcommittees for almost two decades, I can tell you that we have been pushing for comprehensive immigration reform through a number of presidents, but the Republicans have continuously blocked it. And what they are saying now is an insult to the American people's intellect," she continued.
"They should carry the Constitution around. There are three branches of government. I carry this book around. And I recognize the legislative powers but the president has executive powers. Those powers include interpreting how the law will be enforced, which is what this executive order may do, expanding the opportunities for parents of citizen children so that children are not ripped away from their parents, looking at the potential of giving documentation to farm workers so America's farms will not continue to suffer as they are doing."
Jackson Lee said she's been talking with White House lawyers and is "quite confident" that Obama's actions can pass the legal test.
"And therefore, I am not in any way intimidated by the attacks of Republicans and the reason is because the Republicans have been intimidating and attacking forever," she said. "…The Constitution is going to be, I think, the storyteller. The president has executive power to be able to do this and use prosecutorial discretion."