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DOES the President have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens? Hoyer: No

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/30/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

House Democratic Whip says president can - and must implement laws befitting situation

Does U.S. President Barack Obama have the unilateral right to convert countless illegal immigrants to legal status? House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that President Obama "can't legalize" the illegal aliens, but added that the president "can implement the laws as he believes they should be implemented."

'Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the power to make laws governing naturalization. Given this, does President Obama have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens?' Hoyer was asked.

"Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the power to make laws governing naturalization. Given this, does President Obama have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens?" Hoyer was asked.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/30/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Legalize illegals, immigration, President Obama, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress has the power to make laws governing naturalization. Given this, does President Obama have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens?" Hoyer was asked.

"I don't think he does," Hoyer responded, "and I don't think that's what he's going to do. You're right. He can't legalize them.

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"What the president can in fact do, however, is implement the laws as he believes they should be implemented," Hoyer said. "And there have been a lot of scholars - and I'm not going to go through the quotes now - who have said the President clearly has broad authority to decide how he's going to implement the law.

"But that does not mean he can legalize people. He can't make them citizens," Hoyer said. "Not according to the law."

Hoyer added that he's "not going to speculate" on the possible outcome of President Obama's usurpation of congressional authority in his executive actions on immigration.

"I'm not, I'm not going to speculate on that," he said. "The president is discussing [this] with his lawyers, and he's made it very clear he wants to do that, which is in his authority. But he's also made it very clear he wants to take such action as is appropriate legally, that is consistent with his responsibilities, in light of a refusal of the Congress to even consider fixing a broken system either through their [Republican] bills, or with our bills, or with Senate-passed bills. The continual refusal to act has put the president in this position," Hoyer added.

As evidence, the U.S. Constitution states in Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 that "Congress shall have the power.To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization."

This power is not granted to the president. Obama, therefore could not legally grant citizenship to illegal aliens apart from Congress via executive action.

As Congress is expected to adjourn this week for a month-long hiatus without passing a bill addressing comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama has promised to take executive action by the end of the summer to "fix as much of our immigration system as [he] can, without Congress."

This could include granting thousands of work permits to illegal aliens, with some Democrats calling for the president to use his executive power to also defer deportations.

Obama's pledge comes after more than 202,000 illegal aliens, mostly from Central America, have been apprehended at the southwest U.S. border since October, including more than 57,000 unaccompanied children.

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