Pounded and hounded by their constituents all week, U.S. House Republicans turned their backs yesterday on appeasement with the forces of amnesty. Tonight, they sent a strong message of intent to protect American workers from the threat of huge increases in work permits for illegal foreign workers in this country.
By a vote of 216-192, the U.S. House of Representatives tonight passed a strongly worded, short bill, the effect of which was to declare that the President of the United States should not issue any more work permits to illegal aliens without the consent of Congress. (See roll call: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll479.xml)
The legislation was known as the Blackburn bill after sponsor Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). Passage was mainly a Republican effort with only four Democrats voting for the bill. They were Congressmen Barrow (D-Ga.), Peterson (D-Minn.), Rahall (D-W.V.) and McIntyre (D-N.C.).
In a victory for grassroots activism around the country, the U.S. House tonight finally took actions based on Members' declaration that a President of the United States does not have the authority to issue mass numbers of work permits to illegal immigrants so they can compete with American workers for jobs.
It may have been mostly a symbolic step (because the Senate had already left town for a month) but one that showed that the Representatives of the American people may be ready to be the champions of the American workers who stand to lose the most if the President follows through with his promise to issue work permits to millions more unlawfully present foreign citizens.
Until now, Congress has stood mute while Pres. Obama systematically has usurped the constitutional authority of Congress over immigration matters, beginning with new policies in 2011 to stop deporting most illegal aliens who weren't violent criminals. Emboldened by congressional inaction to that move, Pres. Obama issued an administrative amnesty to nearly all younger illegal aliens in 2012. Again, Congress did not protest.
Repeatedly, those in favor of the bill spoke tonight about the bold declarations by Pres. Obama that, since Congress won't pass a mass amnesty, he will issue one on his own in the near future. Many warned of a constitutional crisis in which the country's history of separation of powers has already been violated by the President's "DACA" amnesty issued in 2012 to younger illegal aliens. But for two years, House Republican leaders have refused to allow the House to oppose the President's unilateral amnesty actions.
At the beginning of this week, U.S. House Republican leaders began trying to pass legislation to give several hundred million dollars to the President to respond to the surge of Central American children at the border. But they barred anything that dealt with the role that the President's administrative amnesties have had in enticing that surge.
NumbersUSA is proud of the tidal wave of actions that emerged from the 3 million U.S. citizens who are part of our email and Facebook networks. Combined with the actions of citizens moved by many other organizations and radio and internet sources, these citizens blocked the House Republican leaders' attempt to pass immigration funding that ignored Pres. Obama's amnesty actions and threats.
Grassroots Americans were largely responsible for 435 Members of the House of Representatives having to cancel their flights home yesterday afternoon to begin their August recess. And grassroots Americans were behind the pressure that caused the Representatives to stay deep into this Friday night to deal with a primary reason why tens of thousands of Central American children and teens are risking disease, accidents, robbery, rape and death to get to the United States where the pro-amnesty forces have led the world to believe that anybody can stay here if they can just manage to get into the country.
The U.S. Senate had already left town, having failed to pass any bill of its own yesterday. So, the House's action tonight has no chance of immediately becoming law.
But it can serve a powerful purpose of protecting countless children and youth from Central America and elsewhere by sending a message that an illegal journey to this country may not pay off.
There is much still left to do. And we cannot know at what point the political fallout will become too great for the President to continue with his plan for another unilateral mass amnesty.
But tonight was at least an important step victory for Americans, workers and Central American children who may now be less likely to be pushed and pulled to make dangerous journeys while increasing the profits of the drug cartels and gangs paid to smuggle them.
ROY BECK is President & Founder of NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Aug 15th 2014 @ 10:15pm EDT