Delegation responds to Obama’s immigration plan

Last year, the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform. The vote was 68-32. Fourteen Republicans, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, crossed the aisle to vote with all Democrats in favor of the bill. The House, however, has refused to take up the bill. In response, President Obama announced in a speech on Thursday that he was taking matters into his own hands and said he would issue an executive order that would grant up to about 5 million illegal residents temporary amnesty. Here are the conditions: they have to have children who are citizens or legal residents; they have to have been here for more than five years; and they have to pass a criminal background check. The program is only in effect until 2017 or until Congress passes reform. If that doesn’t happen, the next president will determine whether to extend it.

As expected, Republicans, including Murkowski and Rep. Don Young–who is party of the body who refused to take up the bill–decried Obama’s actions.  (Both of their full statements, as well as the statement of Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan, are below.)

It should be noted, however, that other Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, both used executive action to protect illegal immigrants from being deported. Their actions didn’t protect as many immigrants then, but that’s because there were fewer of them to protect. Statistically, the percentages are comparable. When Reagan signed his order, there were 3.7 million illegal residents in the U.S. Today, there are about 11 million. ”

Here’s Murkowski statement:

“Alaskans know that I support thoughtful comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform of the current broken system.  This is why I voted for a bill in June 2013 that had been vetted and debated in the U.S. Senate, and I stand ready to do so again in the next Congress.

“However, what I cannot support is immigration changes in the form of a Presidential fiat – an action publicly called unlawful by President Obama twenty two separate times.  What’s changed, aside from him being on the other side of an election?

Here’s Young’s statement:

“Through Executive Order, President Obama has moved forward on actions he previously said were not within his Constitutional authority – a unilateral declaration to ignore U.S. law and stop the deportation of more than 5 million unlawful immigrants. Bypassing Congress and changing the law himself, simply because the Legislative Branch has not given the answers he’s looking for, is plain wrong. Ignoring the clear majority of Americans who oppose amnesty will only hurt this nation and the principles it was founded upon.

“Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the power over naturalization of immigrants, not the President. While past Presidents have used Executive Action or ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to address immigration, it has only been to enforce or clarify laws already passed by Congress. In stark contrast, President Obama’s lawless executive decree significantly undermines the American people’s trust in the branch of government responsible for enforcing our laws and puts our constitution in great jeopardy.”

Here’s Sullivan’s statement:

“President Obama’s decision to unilaterally issue executive amnesty shows a blatant disregard for the rule of law and the will of the American people. This is executive overreach at its worst, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle should be outraged because he is ignoring the Constitutional role of the Congress to write our nation’s laws,” said Sullivan.  “The President’s refusal to faithfully execute the law as required by the Constitution, when it does not suit his agenda, has saddled our communities with uncertainty and helped cause the recent flood of unaccompanied minors at the border.”

“First and foremost, we must secure our borders.  Unfortunately, President Obama’s amnesty plan doesn’t do that.  As Alaska’s U.S. Senator, I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to undo this unlawful power grab and restore Alaskans’ and Americans’ voice to the process.”

And this from Hillary Clinton:

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9 thoughts on “Delegation responds to Obama’s immigration plan

  1. Cynic

    Republicans are so full of crap. For the most part, they have spent the last six years actively trying to prevent anything that could be even remotely construed as beneficial for the country from happening because a Democrat sits in the White House. So their complaints of “executive overreach”, however warranted they may be, seem like little more than sniveling tantrums to me. A fairly sizeable chunk of our economy is supported by the labor of illegal immigrants, and those enterprises that employ them are much more profitable than they would otherwise be, because it is understood that illegals can/will be exploited under the current paradigm. This tidy arrangement, where illegals quietly work for fractional wages because the ominous threat of deportation is always looming, works out quite nicely for those at the top. For the system to work, there must be both a pool of illegal labor to draw from (hence the porous borders), and the pretense of “patriotic nationalism”, bordering on xenophobia, which sustains the anti-illegal immigrant sentiment throughout the country. Republicans HAVE to jump up and down and feign moral outrage at the state of things, because it is the only way to keep the charade going.

    If anybody, from any political party, really wanted to change the status quo and reduce the number of undocumented illegal aliens working in this country, there is a simple solution: throw the employers of illegal aliens in prison. And not the middlemen either, the ones at the top, the ones who are reaping the biggest rewards from underpaying their workers. It would be amazing to see how fast the pre-employment citizenship verification process would become more stringent. Because as much as the chief executives of large companies that rely on the exploitation of illegal labor would hate to see their profit margins shrink slightly, they would like even less to be bunked up with all the other criminals.

  2. joe blow

    The Federalist:

    These Reagan and Bush 41 executive actions were obviously different than what Obama is doing now. They were trying to implement a complicated amnesty that Congress had already passed. Congress’ action was a form of immigration relief that obviously fit within our constitutional system. Moreover, Congress left a gap when it came to immediate family members, including minor children, of individuals who qualified for the amnesty. Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 forbore from deporting people in that select group.

    Obama is clearly contravening both ordinary practice and the wishes of Congress—as expressed in statute—by declaring an amnesty himself. This is nothing like Reagan’s or Bush’s attempts to implement Congress’ amnesty. Obama, in contrast to Reagan and Bush 41, is not trying to implement a lawfully created amnesty.

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