Sessions on Obama's Plan to Declare Illegals Legal: 'It's Clearly Contrary to the Law'

By Lauretta Brown | September 10, 2014 | 5:36 PM EDT

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). (AP)

(CNSNews.com) -- Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and many of their congressional colleagues on Tuesday called President Barack Obama’s plan to take unilateral action to  legalize illegal aliens following the midterm elections “lawless," and stressed that he must follow the Constitution.

Obama announced on Friday in Wales that if Congress does not act on immigration reform in the way he wants, then he will take unilateral action to give illegal aliens “some path” to “be legal.”

“The president announced openly and brazenly that he intended to provide amnesty and work authorization for 5 to 6 million illegals, that’s an unbelievable statement,” Sen. Sessions said during the Capitol Hill news conference on Tuesday. “The law prohibits people illegally here from working. He has no ability to do that.  It’s clearly contrary to the law.”

“We fought a revolution to keep from having a king and a parliament. We’ve got a president and a Constitution and we’ve got a House and Senate. The president’s job is to enforce the laws that the House and the Senate write,” Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said.  “Let’s get real: Follow the law, Mr. President, you follow the law, we’ll be happy.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) noted that in threatening Congress with executive action President Obama “actually counters his own statement,” and quoted a 2011 statement by Obama in which he said, “I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. Now I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the immigration laws on my own. That’s not how our Constitution was written.”

Rep. Smith added that Obama stated as recently as last fall, “If, in fact, I can solve all these immigration problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so, but we’re also a nation of laws.”

“The president should listen to his own words and he should abide by his oath of office and the Constitution of the United States,” Smith said.

“Rule of law in America depends on that our President doesn’t have the power to do this,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). “He certainly has no business telling us he’s going to do it by executive fiat after the election. But the fact that he’s done that should hasten us to vote on it now.”

Sen. Cruz emphasized that Obama is “going to helpfully wait till after the election to violate the law and illegally grant them amnesty.”

“In the Senate, I was proud to introduce legislation to put into law to make it unequivocal that the president prospectively has no authority to grant amnesty,” Cruz said. “Sadly, on this side of the Hill, Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats refuse to allow the Senate to vote on legislation making clear that the president has no authority to grant amnesty.”

“Which means,” Cruz concluded, “when the president tries to unilaterally grant amnesty -- and he’s promised to do so this year, by the end of the year, right after the election -- every Senate Democrat who stood with Harry Reid against allowing a vote on this legislation,  every single Senate Democrat bears the responsibility for the president’s illegal amnesty.”

The Constitution of the United States gives Congress – not the Executive branch – authority over immigration. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says: “Congress shall have power … to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.”

The Constitution also gives Congress the power of the purse, meaning that while the president may issue executive actions, Congress can decide whether or not to fund those actions.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution says, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."