Politics

Rep. Steve King to sue Obama administration over new immigration policy

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said Friday that he plans to sue the Obama administration to halt implementation of its newly announced selective illegal immigration law enforcement policy. He told Mike Huckabee on the former Arkansas governor’s radio program Friday that he successfully sued his own state’s governor — and won — over a similar separation-of-powers issue.

“I will tell you that — I’m not without experience on this — I’m prepared to bring a suit and seek a court order to stop implementation of this policy,” King said

“I have done it once in the past successfully when then-Governor Tom Vilsack thought he could legislate by executive order — and the case of King vs. Vilsack is in the books. And that individual, by the way, is now the Secretary of Agriculture. I wonder if he’s not counseling the president on his legal proceedings.”

Huckabee followed up, asking King: “You plan to sue this administration for implementing something that you believe should have required legislative process and approval?”

“That is correct,” King replied

The Iowa Republican is vice-chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

On Friday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the Obama administration’s plan to selectively enforce illegal immigration law by refusing to deport illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as “young children” — effectively an administrative version of the DREAM Act.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” Napolitano said in a statement. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.”

Almost immediately, congressional Republicans and others shot back with accusations that the administration is circumventing Congress to try to push an election-year political agenda.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said it’s “a short term answer to a long term problem,” and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King told The Daily Caller his committee is “launching an immediate review” of the administration’s activities. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called the action “possibly illegal.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith called the Obama administration’s plan a “breach of faith with the American people” that “blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy.”

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and current chairman of that committee’s subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said the administration’s announcement was a “political calculation” Obama made during an election year in “an effort to appeal to some voters.”

Sensenbrenner added that he thinks the announcement is “offensive to the millions of Americans still out of work.”

“It rewards law-breaking,” Sensenbrenner said. “And it’s deeply unfair to those who came to this country legally.”

Speaking to ABC-TV15 in Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was critical and defiant.

“I think people from Mexico are now going to feel, ‘Hey come on in and we’ll get by with it,’” Arpaio said. “But it won’t happen in this county. They will still be arrested.”

Follow Matthew on Twitter