The following op-ed by Speaker Ryan appears on page 7A of today's USA TODAY:
Paul Ryan: 'Get serious about enforcing our laws'
The House of Representatives will not vote on comprehensive immigration legislation as long asPresident Obama is in office. And the reason is simple: The American people can’t trust him to uphold the law.
He has tried to go around Congress by ordering his administration to create a new legal status for undocumented immigrants. Even a federal district court says he has overstepped his bounds. The first principle of any immigration reform has to be securing our border and enforcing the laws already on the books. But that is the very principle the president has violated.
Americans have every right to be skeptical. They don’t think the federal government will keep its commitments. The last time Congress passed a comprehensive bill — in 1986 — it was supposed to stop illegal immigration. And yet the number of undocumented immigrants more than doubled to 11 million. So the people are rightly asking themselves, “Why will this time be different?”
Especially with this president. Instead of working to build trust, he has destroyed it. Last November, after his party lost control of the Senate, the president decided to circumvent the legislative process by unilaterally granting legal status to 5 million people. He has already demonstrated he is not serious about enforcing the law. Passing comprehensive reform during his presidency would merely render it meaningless.
This is not an argument for inaction — far from it. In fact, only concrete action can rebuild credibility. If Congress secured the border and strengthened enforcement, that would show Americans that the federal government is more trustworthy.
As speaker, I’ve promised a new way of doing business. Don’t pass thousand-page bills in the middle of the night. Do it all out in the open. Take it step by step. And get serious about enforcing our laws.
That’s the way to fix our immigration system.