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Testifying Before Congress: President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration is Unconstitutional


Jay Sekulow

December 3, 2014

2 min read

Executive Power



Yesterday, I was invited to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the unconstitutionality of President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

As I told Congress, determining whether President Obama had the authority to do what he did – to grant deferred action and work permits to an entirely new class of illegal immigrants – is simple.  Were his actions constitutional?  In this case, they were not.

I began by explaining the importance of legal immigration.  I’m the grandson of a Russian immigrant.  I told the Committee of how my grandfather came to America and followed the law to legally immigrate to America.  I even was able to show them copies of his immigration papers.

As I explained, immigration law was complex for my grandfather in 1931, and it is complex today.  The Constitution, however, is not.

Our system of government is straightforward.  Congress writes the law.  The President executes the law.  The judiciary interprets the law.

President Obama has said on multiple occasions, “I am President, I am not a king. I can’t [legislate] just by myself.

Yet, after taking sweeping action on immigration unilaterally, he proudly proclaimed that he “change[d] the law.”

He had it right the first time.  Constitutional separation of powers and Supreme Court precedent make that clear.

The Supreme Court has held that “over no conceivable subject is the legislative power of Congress more complete than it is over” immigration.  Justice Frankfurter stated that “the formulation of these policies is entrusted exclusively to Congress.”

As I explained to Congress, our nation’s immigration laws are quite extensive and in need of reform through the legislative process. Differing policy preferences do not provide license to, as President Obama said, “change the law” on his own.

President Obama’s actions are unconstitutional.

President Obama’s actions are unlawful.

President Obama’s actions violate the separation of powers.

The reality is, impatient presidents may not violate the Constitution if they do not get their way.

It’s that simple.

You can read my complete written submission to the House Judiciary Committee here.

We’re leading the fight to defeat President Obama’s lawless actions.  Over 85,000 Americans are standing with us.  Join us by signing our petition to stop President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions.

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