A picture of Representative Louie Gohmert
Louie G.
Republican TX 1

About Rep. Louie
  • Immigration

    by Representative Louie Gohmert

    Posted on 2014-12-03

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    GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the words of my colleague, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Woodall). I think this body has been blessed by Rob Woodall being here, and his words tonight just reinforce that.

    The President has declared an amnesty. The law of the land is if someone is in this country illegally, they are not allowed to legally work. To change that law requires a bill. As Saturday Night Live pointed out in their version of Schoolhouse Rock, a bill has to pass the House, it has to pass the Senate, and then it goes to the President and gets his signature if it is going to change existing law.

    For anyone to just pronounce ``here is the new change'' is an indiscriminate approach to changing the law without following the law.

    I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision, and this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration, and it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting to come here legally.

    Ultimately, our Nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship, and no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable. That is what I believe.

    All of the words--every one of the words I just spoke, beginning with ``I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair''--were words directly out of the mouth of the United States of America's Barack Hussein Obama.

    He was right. In everything he said in that quote, he was exactly right. There are millions of people lined up around the world who are wanting to come here legally. Most of those who would be coming would have to have some way to support themselves; yet the President spoke into law and signed his oral fiat saying: ``You know what, I am going to disregard everything I have previously said that was exactly right, [[Page H8362]] change the law without a bill going to the House or the Senate or without coming to me for my signature after it has passed both.'' Our President also said: I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we are facing right now is the President trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that is what I intend to reverse when I am President of the United States of America.

    The trouble is he said that on March 31, 2008, and when he became President, he forgot that promise. Somebody needs to get that promise in front of him again.

    Also, in 2008, before he got elected, he said: We have got a government designed by the Founders so there will be checks and balances. You don't want a President who is too powerful or a Congress that is too powerful or a court that is too powerful. Everybody has got their role. Congress' job is to pass legislation. The President can veto it or he can sign it.

    Senator Obama said: I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.

    I had a practice court instructor at Baylor Law School. He was an incredible trial lawyer before he came to be a professor at Baylor Law School. He talked even slower than I talk. I can still hear Matt Dawson saying, when he caught a witness saying something different one time than he said another time, he would say to the witness: ``Well, were you lying then, or are you lying now?'' Let the shoe fit on the foot that wears that size.

    Now, there has been a lot of talk about the law, and I have been called anal and everything else around this House floor, even by people in my party, for actually reading bills and reading laws, but 8 United States Code section 1324a(a)(1) says: It is unlawful for a person or other entity--(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien, as defined in subsection (h)(3) of this section, with respect to such employment; or (B) (i) to hire for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section; or (ii) if the person or entity is an agricultural association, agricultural employer, or farm labor contractor, to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an individual without complying with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section.

    Basically, it makes clear, and it is easier for me to see it in print, but when I see it in print, it is very clear, it is illegal for someone to get a job in America who is not an authorized alien.

    If you are an illegal alien or an unauthorized alien, as the language is here, then you are not entitled, it is illegal for you to get a job in the United States, and it is illegal for someone to hire you.

    It really raises an interesting question, and I haven't seen this in the President's fiat, the royal decree that he made, I haven't seen if he is providing amnesty for every employer that hires someone who is here illegally because the President is saying, basically, ``I'm giving you amnesty, so you can go work wherever you want to,'' but as the law makes clear in section 1324 of volume 8 of the United States Code, it is illegal to hire someone that is illegally in the country.

    Is the President going to pardon every employer that hires one of the 5 million that is going to get a permit? We know that the President wants to give pardons to folks who are here illegally, but the trouble is a pardon doesn't work for someone wanting to grant legal status. A pardon only works if you want to forgive a crime that has been committed, like President Clinton did.

    President-elect George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney, he kept them waiting. The service was supposed to start, and President Clinton was over there, just signing pardons as fast as he could. It took him awhile to get that done.

    He left President-elect George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney waiting. They were late starting the service that day on Inauguration Day for George W. Bush because he was signing those pardons as fast as he could, because he had to sign the individual pardons.

    Well, the President hasn't signed 5 million pardons, and even if he did, a pardon forgives the committing of a crime. It does not change the status of someone that is illegally in the country. A pardon pertains to criminal law.

    The changing of status is under naturalization and immigration, and that power is strictly reserved to this House and the body down the hall, the U.S. Senate.

    {time} 2000 We have the power under article I, section 8, to make the law on those things; the President does not. And there is no provision that allows him to pardon someone from the requirements of the naturalization or immigration laws.

    Now, something else caught my attention. It is down in the miscellaneous provisions of section 1324, because I am always looking: Okay, does the President have a loophole here? And at first I thought maybe he did. It turns out he doesn't. But under the definition of ``unauthorized alien,'' it says: As used in this section, the term ``unauthorized alien'' means, with respect to the employment of an alien at a particular time, that the alien is not at that time either: A) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or B) authorized to be so employed by this chapter or by the attorney general (now the Secretary of Homeland Security).

    So I thought maybe this is their loophole here that the President might try to use, even though that is not what was said in a basis that was provided.

    But then when you get over here, it says this exception may not be provided to the alien unless the alien is lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise would, without regard to removal proceedings, be provided such authorization.

    So again, it kicks it back to the law as Congress has decreed it in the past, by both Houses passing it with a majority and a President previously signing it, that you have to follow the law in order to get this lawful permanent resident status. You have to be lawfully admitted. You are not even eligible for that miscellaneous exception under section 1324.

    There are people that have violated the law to come into the country in such a way that it is not necessarily a crime, but if they go to work, under volume 8 of the United States Code, section 1324, it will be a crime for anybody that hires them, and it will be a crime for them. That is where the crime may get committed.

    I guess at that time if the President wants to sign 5 million pardons for 5 million employers, well, he could do that. He has that authority under the Constitution. He can sign pardons for all 5 million employers that employ people who are unauthorized aliens in this country. No matter what the President gives them under the law, that person is still an unauthorized alien under this criminal provision.

    There are some interesting days ahead, and the statute of limitations will not have run out when a new President comes into office. The only way that wouldn't happen is if the President got a third term, and, of course, we know that would be as unconstitutional as the President legislating, and surely that wouldn't happen.

    Now, it is interesting, too, that in the manner in which the President has given this amnesty and is authorizing these work permits, he has actually doubled down legally on his violation of the law previously under DACA in which he had said that--well, this is the way he doubled down on it. Basically, he expands his previous unconstitutional action that the House passed a law the last week of July canceling but the Senate didn't take it up. That is why, when the President says Congress hadn't done anything, the House did. They talked about the Senate passing a comprehensive bill, and they forget to mention that the Senate's bill is unconstitutional. We are not allowed to take it up because it raised revenue, and under the Constitution, such a bill has to originate in the House.

    If the Senate gets around to sending it down here, we don't get to bring it on the floor. It would be what is called ``blue slipped,'' where you put a blue slip on there and say the House cannot take this up. It raises revenue. It has [[Page H8363]] to originate in the House. Therefore, the House is not allowed to take it up.

    Since the Senate passed a bill that was not allowed under the Constitution, we took one up ourselves and we passed that one, and it was constitutional and it was a good bill. There was more that needed to be done, but for what it did, it was a good bill. It dealt largely with securing our border. Because the question people are not asking and the President is not answering is a very important question.

    If this act of amnesty, unconstitutional, illegal as it is, if this act of amnesty is allowed to stand, and obviously the border is not secure, we still have thousands and thousands continuing to come across our border illegally, and nowadays nobody apparently is being turned away, then the big question I am getting to that has to be answered is: How often should we go ahead and have an amnesty? Because clearly, since the President has chosen to provide an amnesty unconstitutionally without securing the border first--and the vast majority of Americans do, and even a majority of our Hispanic friends that are legally here want the border secure before we do anything else.

    I have said over and over, if the President will just secure the border, as we get confirmed by the border States, not by anybody over at Homeland Security--we have already seen their kind of work, at least the people at the top--but if it is confirmed by the border States that the borders are now factually secured, then people would be amazed at what the House and the Senate can negotiate on and get accomplished.

    But until the border is secured, then we have to decide, if this amnesty is going to stand, as unconstitutional and as illegal as it is, how often should we give an amnesty? The President has given amnesty to 5 million this time. And, of course, those 5 million are in this time where there is already over 92 million people of working age who are not working, they have given up even trying to get a job, and there are millions more that are looking for jobs and can't find them. So we will put 5 million Americans out of work, middle class, poor working Americans that are legally here. They will be put out of work. Why? Because people that have just gotten an amnesty, as unconstitutional as it is, they will surely take jobs for lesser pay than what the American citizens or legal permanent residents were getting paid, so they will bump them out of a job.

    And then also for any employer that hires more than 50 employees, they have learned over the last few years since ObamaCare passed, actually in 2010, employers have learned if you have got more than 50 employees, then you are going to end up paying a $3,000 fine for anybody that you don't provide what the Federal Government considers adequate insurance for.

    So, for example, today, our friend Dennis Michael Lynch was pointing out that he has about 200 or so employees that are either American citizens or legally here, and the law is clear he is going to have to provide insurance that is approved by this government. That means even if they are 60 years old and they are a single man, they are going to have to have maternity coverage. Or as the couple I saw on TV, the gay or lesbian couple, women in their sixties, saying, ``We don't need maternity care.'' Well, it won't matter because they require it.

    If you don't provide that very expensive insurance for your employees, if you have more than 50 employees, then you are going to be paying the $3,000 fine, penalty. As Chief Justice Roberts called it at page 14 and 15 of his opinion, clearly it is not a tax, it is a penalty, it is a fine. Never mind what he said 40 pages later. But you are going to have to pay this fine, this penalty, of $3,000 per employee.

    So for somebody like our friend Dennis Michael Lynch, this President has, by his act of amnesty, conveyed to Dennis Michael Lynch: If you will let those 200 American citizens or legal permanent residents who have done everything the right way, if you will allow them to be fired, let them go, and then hire these people who are illegally in the country, then my administration has put in place a law called, informally, ObamaCare that will save you $600,000.

    So basically, Dennis Michael Lynch, how would you like to take home an extra $600,000 this next year? All you have got to do is let your American citizens go, hire people illegally in the country, because under this royal decree from the White House they don't have to be provided insurance.

    So Dennis Michael Lynch can save at least $600,000. It may be he had 300 employees, in which case he gets to pocket an extra $900,000 if he'll just let the American citizens go and hire those folks that are illegally here. And since there are 5 million of those folks that are going to be looking for jobs, then 300 is a drop in the bucket compared to the 5 million. But $600- to $900,000 for one person in extra income, that is some serious money. Even for people in Congress, that is serious money.

    But that also doesn't address the issue of whether or not Dennis Michael Lynch, if he went ahead and did that and made himself an extra $600- to $900,000 next year, it doesn't address the issue of whether a new President that comes in in January of 2017 might have their Justice Department actually follow the law, and even though might not be able to pursue the aliens illegally here that got jobs, certainly would be able to prosecute the employers.

    But here again, the President could do what President Clinton did and leave his successor sitting there waiting on Inauguration Day while he signs 5 million pardons, and he could do that. That doesn't seem to have been this administration's history. If you get thrown under the bus, someone else has said before: When this administration throws you under the bus, they mean for you to stay there. So you probably shouldn't count on a pardon in the future for people that violate the law and don't have a pardon in their hand before this President leaves office.

    Now, there has been a lot of discussion among Republicans here in the House and among some of our friends. In fact, some of us have been talking tonight about what is the best way to address this unconstitutional amnesty. And I know our leadership has talked about, well, we could fund all of the government with an omnibus, taking appropriations bills that have been done already by the House--there have been seven of those--adding four to them, and then not funding the Department of Homeland Security and only funding them until March, and then by March of next year we could try to overturn the amnesty action taken by the President.

    {time} 2015 Most of us believe if those permits are issued before Congress stops them, it is going to be difficult to get enough votes to withdraw the permits. Once they are out there, it is going to be so tough to get them withdrawn. Some of us have been saying we don't think we can wait until March because, if you wait until March, there is a real risk that permits are done.

    Maybe if we just do a short-term CR until January, when we get the new Senate in, then we can act on that, but another problem there is that it is not just the Department of Homeland Security that is involved in this process for people that are here illegally.

    You have the Department of Homeland Security. You also have the Bureau of Consular Affairs that is involved in this unconstitutional amnesty. That is the State Department that is involved. You have the Department of Defense that has been involved in housing for the next influx of people as they flood in. DOD housed many of those people initially.

    You have got Health and Human Services, who takes custody of minors that comes in and ships them all over the country. You have got Social Security that is going to be issuing Social Security numbers. You have got the Department of Justice and CJS for immigration court processing. You have got HUD for housing.

    There are a lot of issues here, and as somebody once said, you should never take a hostage that the other person you are trying to influence by taking hostage is willing for you to shoot. It doesn't do you much good to take a hostage that the other side wants you to shoot.

    We need to be concerned that if we say, ``All right. We are not funding the Department of Homeland Security until you cease this illegal and unconstitutional action,'' the President might say, ``So you mean you're not [[Page H8364]] going to fund the Border Patrol? In other words, you're going to leave the border wide open, so that anybody wants to come in, can. And that's your threat. You are going to leave the border wide open for anybody to come in unless I back off of my amnesty.'' Well, good luck. That is not going to do the trick. We need a short- term CR to get us into the first of the year. For example, the House has defunded ourselves over a 4-year period by over 20 percent. We cut our own budgets over 20 percent. Nobody noticed, nobody cared, except those of us in the House. We had to make real adjustments.

    If we can make those adjustments, I think the White House ought to be able to make those adjustments. Maybe they could do with a few less czars--maybe we defund all the czars--but there are smart ways to defund the waste, fraud, and abuse in the executive branch, and I don't think it is a good idea to start with Homeland Security.

    At the same time, what happens when those employers that hire the 5 million people that have just been given amnesty are able to save millions of dollars? What happens to them? They are going to make more money than ever, and that is during a President's administration who has presided for the first time in our history over a Nation where 95 percent of all the income has gone to the top 1 percent. It has got to stop.

    With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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