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Lamar Smith's Got It Wrong

No disrespect intended, but what universe does Congressman Lamar Smith inhabit? In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, Cong. Smith asserts, “Over the last year, the Obama administration has ignored the will of Congress and the American people by using executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain living and working in the United States.”

Photo: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

That would be news, indeed, to the nearly 400,000 people the administration deported over the past year, and the nearly 400,000 the year before—most of whom are undocumented--and to the families and communities they left behind. Despite record levels of deportation, and a seemingly endless allocation of resources toward enforcement, we still have a broken immigration system, and all the false and inflammatory rhetoric of Cong. Smith and his allies won’t bring us any closer to resolving our immigration crisis. Nor will the senseless deportations of hardworking immigrants and family members—which at the current rate would still take nearly thirty years to deport all those currently here without status. And at what cost?

The reality is, the president has not used his executive authority to set clear priorities that target enforcement resources wisely, best serve the public interest, and treat immigrants with respect. And Congress has time and again failed to move rational and sensible reforms forward, and is unlikely to do so in the current session. Which is why we’re urging the President to begin to take steps, with the stroke of a pen, to begin to repair some of the damage caused by our broken immigration system. Congressman Smith’s misleading comments aside, the president does have that power, and in no way can asserting it be seen as an abuse of power. It may take courage for the President to assert that power in the current climate, but shouldn’t courage be part of the job?

 

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