Latino groups are not happy with the U.S. House of Representatives passing a resolution granting Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the right to file an amicus brief opposing President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions.

What House Lawmakers Are Saying

According to Ryan, who introduced the resolution, the amicus brief would represent the entire House of Representatives in an effort to defend the U.S. Constitution, specifically Article I.

"In recent years, the executive branch has been blurring these boundaries, to the point of absolutely overstepping them altogether. As a result, bureaucrats responsible for executing the laws as written are now writing the laws at their whim," said Ryan in defending H.Res.639 and Article I of the Constitution.

"As speaker, I believe the authority of the office that I have been entrusted with by each and every one of you is to protect the authority of this body. I am prepared to make our case," Ryan later said.

Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that the House resolution is "misguided." She added the resolution attempts to force all lawmakers to block Obama's immigration executive actions, the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

"This amicus brief that Speaker Ryan will file on behalf of the entire House of Representatives not only goes against well-established Constitutional precedents but also against our economic interest. The Congressional Budget Office and numerous other researchers have found that immigration raises average wages for U.S. born workers and grows our economy by billions of dollars," said Sánchez. "In my state of California alone, the President's executive action will generate 130,000 jobs and lift 40,000 Californian children out of poverty."

Shortly after noon, H.Res.639 passed, 234 in favor and 186 against. All House Democrats who were present voted against the resolution, along with five Republicans, including Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Latino Groups Speak Out Against House Resolution

Prior to the vote, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 40 countrywide Latino advocacy organizations, announced its opposition to the resolution.

NHLA Chair Hector Sanchez, who also serves as executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, compared Ryan to former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for not allowing immigration reform legislation into the House. Sanchez noted that the House's inaction is what led Obama to move forward with the executive actions in November 2014.

"The true intention of the House leadership is clear: they do not want to act and they do not want the president to act," Sanchez said. "Their preference is the perpetuation of a broken immigration system that tears apart families, keeps people in the shadows, exploits workers, undercuts law-abiding businesses, and deprives our economy of the skilled labor it needs to thrive."

"Rather than waste time on a resolution to weigh in with the Supreme Court on a pending case, the Speaker should bring immigration reform legislation to the floor of the House for debate and a vote," he added.

Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, a non-profit Latino and immigrant civic engagement organizations, said Ryan's resolution is a direct attack on immigration and promotes hate and divisiveness in politics. He added that Obama's executive actions stand on the right side of history, and he is confident DAPA and DACA's extended guidelines will be approved by the Supreme Court.

"Every day that passes without the implementation of the President's programs, there are millions of families of U.S. born citizens that live under the fear of separation and deportation," said Monterroso. "Our community is watching and will hold accountable those who have stood on the way of our families through the ballots in November."

The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) said the group was "outraged" with the resolution's passage. FIRM's Sulma Arias said H.Res.639 advances the GOP's anti-Latino, anti-immigrant, xenophobic agenda and reminded lawmakers that the Latino electorate will play a major key on Election Day this November.

"This November, the Latino and immigrant communities throughout the country will remember those who have been in favor of DACA and DAPA, and those who have been against it. This November there will be 27.3 million Latinos who are eligible to vote and we will do everything in our power to ensure they come out to vote on November 4. Politicians and judges who stand against DAPA and DACA stand against American families and communities," Arias said, adding FIRM will continue to defend Obama's executive actions from politicians "who have been waging a political, hate-filled war against our families."

Ryan's amicus brief comes before the Supreme Court when it starts hearing oral arguments on April 18 about the legality of Obama's 2014 immigration executive actions. The court is scheduled to render a decision in June.


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