The clarion call has sounded from President Obama and the pundits residing in Washington D.C. that Congress should "do something" about the massive influx of illegal immigrants over our southern border. Lost in this theory of governing by crisis is that Mr. Obama's actions created this historic calamity on the border. This is a "man caused disaster" and the man who caused it is Barack Obama.
Waiting for Mr. Obama to enforce the law is akin to waiting for Godot. Mr. Obama is as likely to secure the border as he is to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. We are looking at two and a half long years of watching hundreds of thousands, even millions, of illegal immigrants flood our country and our services unless we find a way to circumvent the feckless will of the president and secure the border even, if need be, against his will. The only other authorities with the ability to secure the border are the border state governors. It is time for Congress to call upon the border state governors to call out their national guard to secure our national border. Governors have the power to do so under Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution.
Current legislative tactics have been to react to a crisis by pushing for urgent action, too often without careful consideration. This tactic generally includes a "package" filled with varied pieces of legislation that may or may not survive scrutiny on their own. This approach is usually designed to garner votes and to provide cover for Members of Congress who do not want to be on record for particular proposals or who want to be seen as "doing something." Such a package would have no chance to pass the Senate or to be enacted into law. Senate Democrats would likely load it up with Gang of Eight amnesty provisions, virtually guaranteeing its failure.
The stakes are too high to simply create a package for the sake of doing something. We need to concentrate on real fixes. The House needs to bring narrow individual proposals up for consideration, a vote, and then send them to the Senate. I propose the House implement a four part strategy, one for each legislative day of the last week before the annual August break. Each would be designed to actually address sovereignty and the open border crisis centered now at McAllen, Texas.
On Monday, our first piece of legislation should be a House Resolution, closely drafted to the principles laid out in a new resolution by Rep.Trent Franks (R-AZ) reflecting the points compiled in a House Judiciary memo by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). In short, the president's lawless DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy and the constant promise of full amnesty is the cause of the calamity. He can end this crisis by rescinding the policies and restoring the Rule of Law. The resolution should also include a call on the border state governors to secure the borders with the commitment of the House to fund their effort.
On Tuesday, the House should bring to the floor a supplemental appropriation bill to directly fund border states who call up their national guard to secure the border. We are learning that there are jobs an American president won't do, among them are the jobs of enforcing the law and securing the border. Since the president won't secure our border, let's fund the governors who will. I have introduced H Res. 675 supporting the Constitutional authority of our governors to call up the National Guard to defend their border. Congress can empower them with funds to assist in the effort. This necessary action is a funding obligation of the federal government.
On Wednesday, the House should take up and pass a simple fix to the 2008 Human Trafficking bill which was passed without a recorded vote by a Democrat House and Senate on the last day of the 110th Congress and after last votes when most Members had left town for Christmas. This Act is not the cause of the crisis on our border but it does contribute to the problem. Mr. Obama supported a fix to the "non contiguous" language in this law before open borders amnesty advocates convinced him to reverse his position. It makes no sense to treat all unaccompanied minors as trafficking victims when they or their parents are those who are hiring the coyotes to transport them in the first place. When one hires a human trafficker to traffic themselves or a family member, they cannot be automatically declared a "victim" of their own actions.
On Thursday, we need to deal with the asylum issue and creation of a mechanism for expedited processing of the aliens already here. It is vital to ensure this process does not turn into an assembly line of amnesty. There are some excellent ideas that have emerged from the working group led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX). We do need very temporary housing, nothing better than the canvas resources that are good enough for our military. Electronic "Skype"-type hearings can utilize judicial resources from all across the country. "Last in, first out" can send the right message of deterrence to the home countries. Orderly and swift adjudication while containing aliens as close to the border as possible will produce the best results.
All of these proposals are unlikely to pass the Senate where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has held up over 300 other House bills. Regardless, the United States House of Representatives owes it to the American people to provide solutions to this "man caused disaster". If the proposed work of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday should be enacted into law, we can expect the border to be secured by the states. If the proposed work for Thursday becomes law, we can expect to begin to clean up the mess of a human tragedy created by lawless policy. "The president may then revisit the Constitution he once taught, "He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
Steve King is a Republican representing the 4th congressional district of Iowa.