House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), whose panel oversees immigration policy, warned that the Obama administration's decision this week to defer deportations would threaten any action in Congress.
The Obama administration announced Thursday it would extend two-year work permits for people who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children for another two years. The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), exempts qualified individuals from deportations. Many applicants' temporary legal status would have expired in September without executive action.
Goodlatte argued the Obama administration's move undermined Republicans' trust in the president to enforce immigration laws, and therefore threatened the possibility of reform legislation.
"These actions undermine Congress’ hard work to reform our immigration laws and also raise serious concerns about the administration’s ability and willingness to maintain the integrity of our immigration laws," Goodlatte said.
The Judiciary Committee chairman further accused the administration of making changes to the program, such as language that does not specifically require the administration to verify supporting documents that an applicant qualifies for a delayed deportation.
"President Obama’s extension of his unilaterally-created immigration program not only violates his constitutional duty to enforce the law, but the changes he made to it proactively invite fraud and abuse," Goodlatte said.
Just a week after Johnson fielded questions from lawmakers about the administration's immigration policy, Goodlatte said his committee would continue with hearings on the issue.
"The House Judiciary Committee plans to continue its oversight of the Obama Administration’s lax immigration enforcement and will look into how these changes impact our immigration system," Goodlatte said.