Gutierrez: ‘Only Person Who Can Deport’ 11 Million Illegal Aliens Is ‘Barack Obama’

Penny Starr | March 24, 2015 | 5:26pm EDT
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Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) spoke at a press conference about immigration on March 24, 2015 on Capitol Hill. ( Starr)

( – Speaking at a press conference held by the National Hispanic Construction Association (NHCA) on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said that President Barack Obama is the “only person” who can deport the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally.

Citing the lawsuit filed by the state of Texas challenging Obama’s executive action to protect millions of illegal aliens from deportation, Gutierrez said it’s the president who can enforce – or not enforce – immigration laws.

“Because our immigrant community has to understand one thing – maybe the Republicans went to court and a judge put in an injunction against us giving them a work permit and a Social Security card, but the only person who can deport them from the United States is Barack Obama,” Gutierrez said. “The president of the United States and the executive branch of the government are the only people who can say ‘You gotta go.’”

“And if Barack Obama said – and all of his ICE agents are under instruction to do what? To make [illegal aliens] low priorities for deportation,” Gutierrez said. “And it makes sense.

“Why are you going to go after children instead of going after gang bangers?” Gutierrez said.

“Why are you going to go after families instead of going after criminals? It doesn’t make sense.”

But Republican lawmakers believe the Constitution requires that the nation’s laws be “faithfully executed” by the president, including immigration law, as reported earlier. asked one of those lawmakers, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa): “The Constitution requires that the president ‘take care that the laws are faithfully executed.’ Where specifically in the Constitution does it give the president the power not to enforce the immigration laws against 5 million violators of that law?”

“He doesn’t have the constitutional authority to decide that he’s not going to enforce the law against 5 million violators,” King responded. “There’s a series of accumulated precedents that give the executive branch the authority for prosecutorial discretion. That’s on an individual basis only, and if they had enough resources to apply the law to everybody that breaks it, they don’t even have prosecutorial discretion.

“And so what he’s done – the president has created entire classes of people, or groups of people, that he said are exempt from the law, and then he’s issuing what some are arguing are counterfeit work permits to people that are unlawfully present in the United States. These are all constitutional violations, and the president knows that to get him into court and litigate this before he’s out of office is a very difficult task,” King said.

On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Brownsville, temporarily halted Obama’s executive action, which would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to include qualified relatives.

The judge said Obama’s executive actions violate the “Take Care” clause of the Constitution, because they allege the president has changed the law rather than “tak[ing] care that the laws be faithfully executed,” according to a report analyzing the case by the liberal Immigration Policy Center.

On March 12, the Obama administration asked the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to lift the injunction issued by Hanen.

Texas and 25 other have joined the lawsuit against Obama’s immigration executive actions, according to Pew Research Center. The other states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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