An Iowa conservative tangled with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today about the directive on immigration enforcement that essentially enacted the DREAM Act, warning her that the decision would have its day in court.
A month ago, DHS and the White House announced new rules that would grant a two-year deferment from any immigration enforcement action and institute eligibility to apply for work authorization for applicants who came to the U.S. under age 16, have continuously resided here for 5 years, not older than 30, currently in school or have graduated from high school or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, and have not been convicted of a felony or “significant” misdemeanor.
Napolitano told Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that she didn’t consult with President Obama before the June 15 announcement. “I informed the White House prior to the release of the memorandum that, that was my intent to do so, but the internal meetings that we worked on and how we developed the program started in early May,” she said under questioning before the House Judiciary Committee.
“Were you surprised when you issued the memorandum that the president had, had a press conference scheduled within hours?” King asked. Napolitano said she wasn’t.
“Looks like almost as if this is written anticipating the Constitutional objection that I assure you I will bring,” King said, referencing the four mentions of “prosecutorial discretion” in the original memo. “There is a separation of powers. And the executive branch cannot legislate by executive order, by memorandum.”
“Will you rescind this before we have to take this to court?” he asked the secretary.
“Representative, I will not rescind it. It’s right on the law,” Napolitano said. “It’s the right policy. It fits within our prosecutorial priorities. And although it came out of the Department of Homeland Security, let me say that president is four square behind it, embraces this policy as the right thing to do.”
“When you cross those lines and those bounds, and there are a whole list of things that have been done by this president, this one is the most clear,” King said. “I accepted the prosecutorial discretion when it dealt with individuals. I do not when it deals with groups of people that are created by a memorandum, and I do not when it deals with a work permit that’s ordered to be issued that doesn’t exist in the United States code. And that is the province of Congress.”
“…So, I thank you for being here today, but we will see each other down the line in litigation,” King concluded.