WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced the Faithful Execution of the Law Act, legislation to allow Congress the ability to more carefully scrutinize Executive Branch actions which are in conflict with Congressional intent.
The legislation, which was previously introduced by then-Congressman Ron DeSantis in 2014, expands current law by requiring the Attorney General report to Congress when a law is not being fully enforced or implemented across the federal government.
“The Faithful Execution of the Law Act, expands current law to increase oversight, transparency, and accountability of the Federal Government,” said Congressman Joyce. “The bill creates another avenue for the Legislative Branch to review agency actions and ensure that they remain accountable to Congress and the American people. This action will help rein in agency officials who pursue a partisan agenda and ignore the limits placed upon them by Congress. I am proud to make this bill my first legislative action of the 118th Congress and will continue to do everything in my power to create more opportunities to increase oversight in our country.”
Current law requires the Attorney General to report to Congress any time a Department of Justice official establishes or implements a policy to refrain from enforcing the law on the grounds that such provision is unconstitutional. The Faithful Execution of the Law Act adjusts the law in two ways, making it applicable to all federal officials and all non-enforcement policies, and requiring a report to Congress when any federal official establishes or implements a non-enforcement policy, regardless of the grounds of non-enforcement.
During President Biden’s first year in office, senior officials in the Biden Administration’s Department of Homeland Security produced three memos directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel to limit their enforcement tactics and deportation orders.
- Immediately following President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske issued a memo announcing a pause of all deportations of illegal immigrants except those who are suspected terrorists, spies, or previously have been convicted of aggravated felonies.
- On February 18, 2021 acting ICE Director Tae Johnson issued a new memo that continued the pause on deportations, but expanded the list of illegal immigrants who can be removed to include certain gang members, only if they pose a risk to public safety.
- Most recently, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a memo advising border patrol agents to avoid arresting any immigrants unless they crossed the border on or after November 1, 2020 or have been convicted of serious criminal conduct.
Federal agencies have the authority to use their discretion to prioritize certain required duties, however, the Biden Administration has not only a statutory duty to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secure Fence Act, but a Constitutional obligation to fully execute the law. While discretion to prioritize certain duties may be necessary in some cases, Congress and the American people must be made aware of these changes. It’s imperative that the laws passed by Congress are enforced in an effective, efficient, economical, and legal manner by the Administration to promote the American people’s trust in Washington. Our system of Government is built on the foundation of a balance of power between all branches, increased transparency and oversight will only strengthen this balance of power.