Republicans threaten to impeach Obama if he issues executive action on immigration
Republicans are warning that they may pursue efforts to impeach US President Barack Obama if he goes forward with plans to use his executive authority to implement immigration reform.
On the heels of post-Election Day remarks made by President Obama last week, Republican Party representatives said the GOP should consider countering any attempt from the White House to unilaterally weigh in on immigration reform with an order of impeachment.
Last Wednesday, Obama warned that he will take whatever lawful actions he feels are necessary to “improve the function of our immigration system,” following years of unsuccessful efforts from Congress to accomplish as much on its own. The White House says that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has previously pushed back on efforts from Democratic lawmakers to introduce immigration reform, and the results of last Tuesday’s mid-term elections will soon see to it that the GOP has a majority in the Senate as well next session.
“So if in fact there is a great eagerness on the part of Republicans to tackle a broken immigration system, then they have every opportunity to do it,” the president said. “My executive actions don’t prevent them…but should be a spur for them to try and get something done,” said Obama.
The GOP fired back immediately, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the soon-to-be Senate majority leader, saying the use of executive authority in this instance “would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.” In the days since, other influential members from the Republican Party have weighed in with warnings to the White House.
In a video published to the web on Monday, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said “impeachment would be a consideration,” even if it would need the support of two-thirds of the Senate, where the Republican Party will soon have control.
“There will be some reason found to introduce an impeachment resolution,”Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) predicted during a Tuesday interview on MSNBC. “These Republicans have decided that this president must have an asterisk by his name after he leaves office, irrespective of whether or not he gets convicted. It is their plan to introduce an impeachment resolution.”
Indeed, GOP lawmakers have since chimed in to further fuel those flames. “To me a constitutional question means that we have the option of impeachment,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) told Breitbart News on Wednesday, calling such action the best way to respond to any executive amnesty for illegal immigrants.
“We have a constitution, and I am very disappointed from year to year that we do not follow the constitution. To me, if you think the president has violated his trust of office, meaning with the American people, then follow the constitution,” Jones added.
On Thursday, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer told Fox News that he agrees that any executive action from the president on the issue of immigration would constitute “an impeachable offense.”
“If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws,” he told Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here,” Krauthammer said.
President Obama has previously drawn fire from Republican critics for similarly using his executive power to unilaterally act on issues, including in June, when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) threatened to sue the president for allegedly abusing his constitutional authority.