This week, a House judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act” (HALT Act), introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas. The bill would suspend the administration’s ability to exercise certain discretionary forms of immigration protections and relief until Jan. 21, 2013-the day after the first term of the Obama administration ends.

Smith stated that the HALT Act was introduced because “the current administration now wants to grant ‘backdoor amnesty’ to illegal immigrants.”

“The HALT Act is ridiculous and mean-spirited and does not deserve a hearing. In this bill, Smith manages to combine irrational hostility towards Obama with an ideology that can’t admit that any immigrant deserves a break, regardless of need or even benefit to U.S. citizens,” said SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman.

“This proposal has nothing to do with stopping terrorists or violent criminals. Rather, it would prevent the administration from providing temporary relief or short-term admission to a small number of individuals with extremely compelling cases.”

Ackerman feels that if the HALT Act had been in effect during the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in Haiti in 2010-an event that drew humanitarian relief from around the world-the president would have lacked the authority to temporarily adjust the status of immigrants who had no country to return to.

“This irresponsible bill would also handcuff law enforcement’s ability to ensure that witnesses to crimes are available,” stated Ackerman. “The list of humanitarian and pragmatic needs that are addressed under current law is long. The administration’s authority to use discretion on a case-by-case basis speaks to our national values.

“Unfortunately, the lack of legislation discretion by Smith panders to the worse form of politics that has turned off the American public. It is time for them to stop the politics of division and start seeking real immigration reform solutions that fortify our economic and national interests.”