Congressional Inaction And Executive Order

By now, you are probably aware of the influx in illegal immigrants across the Texas border. While illegal immigration has been an ongoing issue in Texas and the United States in general, it has recently been tossed around the media outlets and brought back into political focus. In the past few months, thousands of illegal immigrants have poured into Texas from Mexico. Mostly children, they have been sent by desperate parents in hopes that they will escape the poverty and crime-ridden streets of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and elsewhere.

On the Statue of Liberty, these words of Emma Lazarus are inscribed: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the Golden door.”

While conservatives hold the Statue of Liberty in high esteem, they are quick to forget, or ignore its true meaning and symbolism. The town of Lawrenceville, VA proved beyond a doubt that Christian values are for someone else’s backyard. The rhetoric spewing from a heated 1,000 plus residents of a recent community meeting went beyond xenophobia and straight into racism. Former Marine, Aaron Smith had this to say. “We talk slow around here and with a twang. But, we say what we mean. Let me talk straight into your eyes: We don’t want you here.”

How compassionate? I wonder if Mr. Smith would really say that to the eyes and faces of the thousands of poor, young, and by all rights confused children who have been sent here for their protection. Rhetoric from the rest of the Lawrenceville crowd was no more compassionate and at times, far more racist. Citizens worried about an influx in violent crime (from young children, mind you), disease, and their tax payer dollars going to aid these suffering children. Apparently Lawrenceville is filled with a bunch of nihilistic atheists, because no Christian would possibly turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to those who are truly in need.

I only bring this up to illustrate a far different point. The thousands of young immigrants crossing into Texas should be a clear stimulus for Congressional action on immigration reform, right? Alas, don’t count on it. Republicans in control of the House have already made it clear that they have no intention of touching the issue of immigration reform during a Congressional election cycle. In fact, they’ve made it clear they plan on, wellnot doing anything about any issue of national importance whatsoever during this election season. They plan to collect their pay and do nothing except campaign and fundraise. No wonder Congressional approval ratings are below 15 percent, far lower than Obama’s and just about the lowest in the history of such polling.

So apparently submitting and acting on their own agenda is off the table; as is working together with the Senate to pass meaningful legislation (which is their lone responsibility). Keeping this in mind, it should come as no surprise that President Obama has chosen to take matters into his own hands via executive orders.

The nation has issues that need to be dealt with on a continual basis. This is typically the responsibility of Congress. The House of Representatives has very publically stated its intention to do absolutely nothing about these issues. So, the President, despite having his own duties to fulfill, has also had to deal with issues that Congress has failed to do anything about. His reward for putting in the extra hours and taking on the responsibility of others: a lawsuit. That’s right! Speaker Boehner has committed to suing the President of the United States over his use of executive power. I understand the Constitutional restraints on executive power, but it seems to me that the Republican controlled house is suing Obama for doing the job that they were elected and are paid to perform. Does this seem a bit hypocritical to anyone else? My advice to you Mr Boehner: do your job and maybe someone else wouldn’t have to do it for you.

James Bliss is a Jamestown resident who studied literature and philosophy at Florida State University.