Labrador talks executive powers, points to a pathway for some piecemeal immigration reforms

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was mostly in his Congressman rather than candidate mode during an appearance before the Idaho Statesman Editorial Board Monday.

After Friday’s filing deadline Labrador now has four opponents for the May 20 closed Republican primary — a system I don’t care for, but which he defended during our chat.

He discussed his co-sponsorship of the “Enforce The Law Act,” which he and other supporters hope will “ensure that President Obama does not ignore his Constitutional duties and abuse his power.”

Labrador is concerned about what he perceives as a deliberate campaign to “expand executive power at the expense of Congress.”

I agree with him that the executive order has become a default rather than an exception in doing the nation’s business. Some of the features and mandates of laws, particularly with the Affordable Care Act, have been delayed or changed at the president’s whim without Congressional consent or consultation: delaying the employer mandate is an example.

Once one of the strongest proponents for some immigration reform among Republicans, Labrador now acknowledges that progress on that front will likely only resume after the midterm elections.

The U.S. Senate — with the exception of people like Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho — has been fixated on “comprehensive immigration reform.” Risch said last summer that there were plenty of opportunities to get pieces of the reforms passed in both chambers, but that methodology was not on the table.

Labrador, too, sees opportunity to pass some aspects of reform — as a precursor — to larger agreements down the road. He talked about un-clogging the pathway of immigration for two particular classes: those with exceptional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills who could enhance the country’s high tech capabilities to grow its economy; people who are here illegally who resist making things right because a 10-year return to their native country stands between them and getting a legal status.

“These bars must be removed,” said Labrador, who estimated these two classes represent around 30 percent of those in this country illegally. He elaborated on what could be done:

Posted in Hello Idaho