By continuing to push his plan to take executive action on immigration, President Barack Obama is ignoring the 80 percent of Americans who oppose it, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions says.
"The president is arrogantly refusing to follow the will of the American people … and to fulfill his duty to faithfully see that the laws of the United States are executed," Sessions said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File."
Obama has said he would sign an executive order to delay deportation of up to 5 million illegal immigrants during the summer, but under pressure from his own party delayed it until after the midterms.
Tuesday's drubbing of Democrats didn't seem to faze Obama, who told reporters Wednesday he still plans to take executive actions on immigration if Congress doesn't act by the end of the year.
Sessions, who will chair the powerful Senate Budget Committee when Republicans take control of the Senate in January, said Congress can use its power of the purse to prevent any such "executive amnesty."
"Congress simply has to bar the expenditure of any money to carry out such a scheme because it would be a very expensive scheme," he said.
Sessions told Kelly that it is normal procedure for Congress to withhold funding for any action by the president it doesn't approve of. He said the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would have been closed a long time ago, but Congress barred Obama from any money needed to close it.
With fewer than 60 votes, Republicans would need some Democrats to vote with them on de-funding, and Sessions said those on the other side of the aisle should listen to the American people's wishes.
"I would warn my Democratic colleagues, look to what happened to some of your colleagues in this past election," he said.
The biggest part of the problem, he added, is that the government isn't enforcing laws that already are on the books.
Immigration officers, he said, have the lowest morale of any federal agency and have even sued Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson because they are being forced to break their oath.
Sessions dodged a question on whether Congress would impeach Obama for executive overreach, but said they have plenty of tools to fight him and need to use them.
Though 14 Republicans joined Democrats in an earlier bill that stalled in the GOP-controlled House, Sessions said that even those Republican members who crafted that Gang of Eight bill are opposed to Obama taking executive action.
Speaker of the House John Boehner earlier Thursday told reporters that any executive action would "poison the well" of cooperation.
"I've made clear to the president that if he acts unilaterally, on his own, outside of his authority he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving in this Congress," Boehner said. "When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself. And he's going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path."
Meanwhile, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks told Newsmax that he expected Republicans to sue Obama in federal court when the new Congress convenes in January.
"At a minimum, we will seek to reverse illegal conduct in a court of law," said Brooks, who was among many GOP legislators who were re-elected to the House on Tuesday.
"That's what the judicial system is for: to make a determination whether conduct is illegal, and if so, to seek court orders to force public officials to obey that law.
"The president doesn't have the lawful authority to declare illegal aliens lawfully in the United States if those illegal aliens are here illegally," Brooks added. "The president simply doesn't have the authority to do that."
That Americans elected Republicans to the majority in both houses of Congress proved that opposition remained strong to any immigration reform efforts, Brooks said.
"Securing our southern borders was a major issue in many campaigns throughout America," he said. "The average American understands that the definition of a country consists of lines on a map called borders that are controlled by a country.
"If you don't control your borders, you don't meet the definition of a country.
"If he violates the law, then that's going to have adverse repercussions on his relationship with Congress and with the American people."
Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino, another Republican who was re-elected Tuesday, told Newsmax that "Republicans have the mandate, and lead we will.
"The president should not issue executive orders at all," he added. "He said himself that his policies were on the ballot — and the people rejected those policies and candidates that supported them."
If Obama wants to change the nation's immigration laws, "he needs to engage with Congress," Marino said. "Under Boehner's leadership, we remain determined to secure the borders and strengthen current immigration laws.
"What is clearer than ever before is that the president seeks amnesty — and if he issues executive orders, then it proves he's willing to ignore the will of the public."
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