President Obama’s executive order on immigration shields immigrants from deportation who have been in America for more than five years and have a child who is a legal resident. This amounts to around five million people. These people will be allowed to apply for work permits to the Department of Homeland Security.
Today’s vote on immigration in Congress is simply symbolic. Its purpose is merely to show President Obama that Congress disapproves of his amnesty plan for over five million illegal immigrants.
The more important vote will happen next week. This one will allow Congress to use its power of the purse to block programs associated with Obama’s amnesty executive order.
Congress has constitutional powers over appropriations, meaning it is acceptable and lawful for Congress to provide or deny taxpayer funds to any government programs and can determine the conditions under which money is spent.
But what if the federal agency is funded using fees, not taxpayer money? Congress still has the power of the purse. They can limit and determine how money is expended in any federal agency, regardless of where the money comes from. So although the Department of Homeland Security funds its immigration services through fees that it collects, Congress still has the final say on how this money is put to use.
Bottom Line: Congress has the power to govern all aspects of how federal money is used.
Should Congress defund President Obama’s unlawful executive order?