Johnson, Lankford Call on GAO to Review Administration’s Executive Actions

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-Okla.) called Monday on GAO to review whether the administration’s executive actions on immigration constituted rules under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). If GAO finds that these are rules, pursuant to the CRA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is required to submit a concise general statement to Congress and the Comptroller General for review before the rules may take effect.  

Senator Johnson said: “Last week the district court was clear: the administration’s executive actions are substantive rules.  Deferred action is not merely non-enforcement of immigration laws; it is an affirmative action granting Social Security numbers, work authorizations, and access to benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.  The court found that last year the state of Wisconsin paid $570,748 in unemployment benefits just to recipients of deferred action.  The administration’s policies have substantial taxpayer implications.  This is why the court issued an injunction and why Congress must be given the ability to review these rules.” 

Senator Lankford said: “In November, the president undermined our existing immigration laws by announcing his executive actions to defer deportation. Ignoring our law sends the wrong message to our enemies, both foreign and domestic, that we aren’t serious about protecting Americans and respecting the rule of law. Ignoring the law disrespects millions of immigrants who have come to our country through the legal naturalization process. Process is important and the law is essential. If the Congressional Review Act was violated, it sends the wrong message to Americans and the foreign community that even our own government can’t be fully trusted to follow the law.”