“I believe that the Constitution is clear that the legislative power resides in Congress,” Paul said when he introduced his bill. “The president is not a king and he does not have the power to enact laws then execute his own laws.”
“Our Constitution is being violated by this executive order and other actions by the Obama administration to govern by executive fiat,” he added.
The bill indicated Obama’s action violates Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, which says Congress has the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” It also noted that the Supreme Court has found that immigration rules are “entrusted exclusively to Congress.”
It also implied a violation of Article II of section 3, which says the president must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Obama has said his executive actions are legal because the executive branch has prosecutorial discretion, which allows him some flexibility when it comes to implementing the laws. But Obama’s action could give up to 5 million illegal immigrants protected status in the United States, and allow them to work — Republicans say prosecutorial discretion was never meant to be applied so broadly, across a whole category of people.
“Historically, executive branch officials have legitimately exercised their prosecutorial discretion through their constitutional power over foreign affairs to permit individuals or narrow groups of non-citizens to remain in the United States temporarily due to extraordinary circumstances in their country of origin that pose an imminent threat to the individuals’ life or physical safety,” Paul’s bill stated.
“Prosecutorial discretion generally ought to be applied on a case-by-case basis and not to whole categories of persons,” it said, adding that Obama’s actions are “without any constitutional or statutory basis.”
Paul’s proposal would stop Obama’s order by nullifying any move by the executive branch that exempts broad groups of people from immigration enforcement, including by letting them stay in the country. It would apply to Obama’s action because its effective date would be Nov. 20, when Obama announced his action.