Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says he backs the president’s recent executive order on immigration which would end the practice of deporting younger illegal immigrants who have led generally law-abiding lives.
Braley says we need to have “an open and honest debate about the realities of the immigration policies that we have,” and that’s why he’s supported things like the “Dream Act” in the past.
“Young people who’re brought to this country through no fault of their own, who go to school here, who work here and are part of our existing economy, should be given the opportunity to do what we do every year in this country. Which is, give people an opportunity to demonstrate that they are going to do the right thing, be productive members of society, and give them the chance to pursue the American dream,” Braley says.
Braley says the harsh reality is that many Iowans, including dairy farmers, seed-corn companies and people doing work in high-tech areas rely heavily on immigrant labor of some type. Critics of the president’s new policy say it is a political ploy as he faces a tough re-election fight.
Braley doesn’t agree. “No I don’t think it is a political ploy, I think that the political ploy is we can’t have an honest debate in this country about a comprehensive reform to our immigration system because too many people use it as a political football and won’t talk about the real issues we face in resolving these problems,” Braley says.
While he says he favors a comprehensive reform plan, Braley says he supports the Democrat president’s action on the issue that has stalled in Congress. “We can’t just keep sticking our head in the sands and pretending it doesn’t impact every Iowan. It does,”Braley says.
“And so if we are unwilling, if the leadership in congress is unwilling to have that conversation, then the president has no choice but to take some incremental actions to deal with these practical considerations.” Braley is running for a fourth term and will face Republican Ben Lange in November.
He made his comments during a conference call with reporters.
Ben Lange’s campaign issued this response to Braley’s comments:
INDEPENDENCE, IA — Congressional candidate Ben Lange (IA-01) today issued the following statement in response to Congressman Bruce Braley’s (D-IA) support of President Obama’s unilateral decision not to deport certain illegal immigrants as required by duly enacted laws passed by the people’s representatives in Congress:
Our immigration system needs to be reformed, but not at the expense of transforming the presidency into a monarchy. Under our Constitution, the legislative and executive powers are separated — Congress makes laws and the president enforces them.
What President Obama did last week was crown himself king and unilaterally declare which laws he will and will not enforce. In this pronouncement, President Obama declared authority to determine what the law shall be, a function not of the executive branch but of the legislative.
This issue isn’t about immigration, it is about the Constitution. Whether the underlying policy being pursued is wise or unwise, this is a profound and dangerous precedent that threatens to fundamentally alter the relationship between the Congress and the President under our constitutional system.
What recourse will Iowans have if a future president wakes up and decides that, in order to shore-up popular support with rising populations on the coasts, he or she will intentionally not enforce a law that protects Iowa’s interests?
Our representatives will be without recourse because during a presidential election cycle in 2012, Democrats in Congress were willing to sacrifice a core constitutional principle for short-term political gain, and Republicans in Congress appeared willing to tolerate it because of short-term political fallout.
This is what is wrong with Bruce Braley and politicians in Washington. They are gutless and more concerned about gaining partisan advantage than doing what is right for Iowans and the American people.
We need to reform our immigration system, but we need to accomplish it through the proper legislative process without spitting on the Constitution.