The chairmen of the House committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security warned President Barack Obama on Wednesday that his plan to act alone on immigration is a sharp rebuke to Congress that will force members to pass legislation to stop him.
"We join our fellow members of Congress in expressing our disappointment in your continued efforts to bypass congressional authority," chairmen Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) wrote.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) warned the White House Wednesday that moving without Congress on immigration would be a 'slap in the face.'
Image: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images and AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
"The latest indications that you will take executive action on immigration later this week are a slap in the face to the American people and the Constitution," they wrote.
The two chairmen said this month's midterm elections, and recent polls, show that Americans don't want Obama to move on his own. "They want you to abide by the Constitution and work with the newly elected Congress to address our nation's greatest challenges, both domestically and internationally," they said.
Obama is expected to create some sort of legal status for as many as five million illegal immigrants, and may be preparing to expand the number of people who can be covered by green cards — all without any changes to immigration law as it's currently written. He's expected to talk about his plan Thursday night, and release the entire plan on Friday.
Republicans have been considering ways to stop Obama with legislation, including by preventing the federal government from spending any money to implement Obama's plan. The GOP hasn't set out a clear plan for doing so, and some are considering legislation after the new Congress convenes next year.
However, Obama's decision to announce his plan this week could force Republicans to try attaching immigration language to the spending bill at the end of this year. While GOP leaders have said they don't want a government shutdown, a shutdown is possible if Congress can't find a way to combine immigration and the spending bill in a way that's acceptable to both parties.
The two GOP chairmen weren't specific, but warned that they would have no choice but to push through legislation in some form to stop Obama.
"Let's secure the border, enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States, and build a broad consensus for immigration reform," they said. "Otherwise, as chairmen of the committees with oversight over border security and our nation's immigration laws, we will be forced to use the tools afforded to Congress by the Constitution to stop your administration from successfully carrying out your plan."
Read their letter to Obama here: