Vote Explanation for H. Res. 639 — on authorizing Speaker Ryan to submit an amicus brief on behalf of the House

Today, I voted against H. Res. 639, which would authorize Speaker Ryan to submit an amicus brief on behalf of the whole House to the Supreme Court in opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. I voted against the resolution because it’s wrong on substance and wrong on process.

Texas v. United States, which the Supreme Court will hear later this year, is a challenge to the President’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs, which would grant limited and revocable legal status to undocumented parents of citizens and legal residents, and undocumented children under the age of 16, respectively.

The President has always enjoyed wide discretion to enforce our immigration laws and DAPA and DACA are policies to do just that. In fact, every President since Dwight Eisenhower, including six Republicans, has taken executive action in order to dictate policy on immigration.

In addition to being wrong on the policy, Speaker Ryan admits that a vote in the House to authorize an amicus brief on behalf of all Members is unprecedented. This would be the first time in history that such a brief would be submitted by the whole House. Yet Speaker Ryan refuses to let Members see the text of the brief before signing our names to it. Would you want your name signed to a statement you don’t support and can’t even see? This is not the honest leadership he promised.