09 Nov 2016 Could Congress block President Trump’s immigration plan?
People are justifiably concerned, anxious, and even terrified over Donald Trump’s proposed plan to deport the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. However, let’s remember that the executive branch does NOT pass laws, nor is the president in charge of funding or the budget. Those powers, duties, and functions belong to Congress, as the legislative branch of the Government.
So let’s say Trump proposes the massive deportation. He would need to have both the House and Senate pass a law, which he can sign. (After all, Donald Trump is against “executive action”, and so he would likely act based only on a law proposed and passed by Congress.)
Even though both the House and Senate would be under GOP control, Congress still has the ability to oppose or even block various proposed pieces of legislation. If you recall, a few years ago, Pres. Obama, along with a coalition of Democrat and Republican lawmakers, proposed comprehensive immigration reform, which passed in the Senate. However, the House blocked that legislation, and would not even bring it up for a vote. As a result, that piece of legislation, urged by the president, went nowhere. So, if Trump proposes a piece of legislation, the House or Senate could always block it, or Democratic Senators could “filibuster,” which would also result in the proposed legislation going nowhere.
Congress is also in charge of the budget and funding. There are estimates it would cost over $400 billion to deport the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants. This might include the cost of building new courtrooms, hiring new judges and their staff, building more detention facilities, transportation for the mass deportation, etc. Congress may not be willing to spend that amount of money for such an unnecessary endeavor. If Trump can’t get the money to carry out his plan, the plan would go nowhere.
While Trump talks tough about immigration, he must take a step back and consider the practicalities (or impracticalities) of his plan, and we must always remember Congress could always block his attempts or refuse to fund it. And even though Congress has a Republican (or GOP) majority, many of these Republicans were opposed to Donald Trump running for president. Some did not even vote for him, and almost all were unwilling to campaign on his behalf. Just because there’s a Republican majority in Congress does not mean they will blindly accept Trump’s immigration plans. Congress still has a say.
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