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Grassley Letter Challenges President's Authority To Implement Deferred Action

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and a group of other Republicans sent a letter on June 19, 2012, challenging President Obama's authority to implement deferred action and work authorization for certain children of undocumented persons based on prosecutorial discretion. The Obama administration announced the new program in a directive from the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, issued on June 15. "Not only do we question your legal authority to act unilaterally in this regard, we are frustrated that you have intentionally bypassed Congress and the American people," the letter states.

The letter also expresses concerns that the directive allows individuals under the age of 30 to obtain work authorization, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics in noting that the unemployment rate for young adults aged 16 to 24 has been nearly 17 percent for the past year. The letter states that "[i]t is astonishing that your administration would grant work authorizations to illegal immigrants during this time of record unemployment."

The letter poses a number of "serious questions" and asks for responses and "any relevant documentation related to this directive" by July 3, 2012.

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