USCIS: 'No Decisions Have Been Made' on Additional Amnesty

July 30, 2014 - 8:31 AM

USCIS

Leon Rodriguez was sworn in as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on July 9, 2014. (Photo from USCIS Website)

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama is looking for additional ways to relax U.S. immigration law on his own, but "no decisions have been made" on what his next move might be, Congress was told on Tuesday.

"Let me be clear, and I think the administration has also been clear about this: No decisions have been made," Leon Rodriguez, the new director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told the House Judiciary Committee. "The directive that we have received is to examine possibilities...," he added.

The Obama White House on Tuesday repeated that President Obama "is not comfortable just sitting in place waiting for Congress to act," particularly when the Senate already has passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill.

"So what is underway right now is a review, at the order of the president, by the secretary of Homeland Security and the attorney general to consider what options are available to the president," spokesman Josh Earnest said. "What those options reflect is a determination by this president, as I mentioned, to act where Congress hasn't, but to do so within the confines of the law.

"That's why we're taking our time to carefully review what the existing law is and what steps it allows the president to take in terms of addressing the problems that are caused by our broken immigration system. And once that review has been concluded and it has been made clear to the president what options are available to him, I anticipate that we'll have an announcement about steps that the president has decided to take to address some of these problems."

Earnest said he couldn't talk about what things are under review.

But Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he anticipates that President Obama will expand his DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to adults, allowing millions more illegal immigrants who are already in the U.S. to stay here -- without fear of deportation.

"I think the administration has made the decision to totally tear asunder the rule of law and grant administrative amnesty to five or more million people and do so while this congress is out of session," King told the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) says the law is plain: "Those who enter this great nation by unlawful means or overstaying their visa are subject to removal and are ineligible to work. That is our law," he said.

Sessions said House Republicans should use their power of the purse to "stop the President’s executive amnesty."

Sessions said a House bill dealing with the border crisis is "unworthy of support" because it does nothing to block the president from deferring the deportations of 5- to 6-million additional illegal aliens.

"That the House leaders’ border package includes no language on executive actions is surrender to a lawless President. And it is a submission to the subordination of congressional power," he said.

The $615 million House package includes funding through September to send the National Guard to the border; and it would change a 2008 law to allow the speedy return of Central American children. President Obama has asked for $3.7 billion.