Immigration shift sparks reaction from both sides
June 15th, 2012
11:01 AM ET
11 years ago

Immigration shift sparks reaction from both sides

(CNN) - Reactions flowed in Friday to the White House announcement that it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.

See the full list of statements after the jump.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina

"This is amnesty. It ignores the law and invites more people to come here illegally, while we still haven't secured the border or fixed our inefficient legal immigration system. We are a nation that has and will always welcome immigrants with open arms, but it must be done legally instead of creating new incentives to break the law. We have debated this same type of amnesty numerous times in the last decade, and each time the American people rejected it and demanded border security and a better legal immigration system. The President’s actions trample on the rule of law and remind voters of why he should be defeated in November."

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

“Despite promising to address illegal immigration early in his term, the president has failed to lead on yet another important national issue, and is instead resorting to an election-year gambit that provides no certainty to immigrants, employers, and the American people. The president's job is to build consensus on tough issues, not pick and choose what laws he enforces based on campaign polling data.”

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York

“With its action today, the Obama Administration is making a significant portion of the DREAM Act a reality. Ending deportations of innocent young people who have the potential to drive tomorrow’s economy is long overdue, as are many common-sense reforms needed to center our immigration policy around our economic needs. We have a system that is choking our economic growth by chasing away the entrepreneurs who can create jobs and the talented people businesses need to succeed and grow. Smart immigration policy protects our borders while ensuring America remains the destination for all those willing to work hard and dream big."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, D-Los Angeles

"It reflects the nation's priorities. Many of these people were brought to this country as infants. The vast majority of them have lived here their entire life. These young people know no other country and often times can't speak the language of their parents and or whatever country they came from. This is the right thing to do. I applaud the president for doing it, and I think it's going to mean a great deal to the many families who live in terror that their kids may get deported through no fault of their own."

Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago

Immigrants are a driving force in cultural and economic life in cities throughout our nation and a vital part of our country’s history and future. Here in Chicago, whether in Rogers Park or Little Village, our city’s vitality has been built on the strength of immigrant populations that have come to enjoy new freedoms and access new opportunities. I applaud President Obama for making strides that will not only help the City of Chicago grow, but will give families and students across the country a better chance of achieving the American Dream.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

“The President's action is an affront to the process of representative government by circumventing Congress and with a directive he may not have the authority to execute. The President once denied that he had the legal authority to do this, and Congress was assured more than once that the administration would consider individuals for this sort of deferred status on a case-by-case basis only, and that there was no plan to implement a broad-based program. It seems the President has put election-year politics above responsible policies."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida

“There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run. Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania

"Today, President Obama blatantly ignored our Constitution, the role of Congress in making laws, and the separation of powers. He showed us all that he believes he is above the Constitution and the law on healthcare, marriage, religious freedom and now immigration. President Obama's ideology, his inability to lead and build consensus, and his political self-interest guide his policies rather than the public interest. The contribution of immigrants to our country is central to our success, but so is the Constitution and the rule of law. We should honor both rather than undermining legal immigration and Constitutional principles such as separation of powers. President Obama's actions today are part of a disturbing and arrogant pattern where he believes that his administration knows better than those who we elect to represent us in Congress. And if he has the opportunity to govern for four more years, I strongly believe our country's future prosperity is at risk."

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa

"Americans should be outraged that President Obama is planning to usurp the Constitutional authority of the United States Congress and grant amnesty by edict to 1 million illegal aliens," said King. "There is no ambiguity in Congress about whether the DREAM Act's amnesty program should be the law of the land. It has been rejected by Congress, and yet President Obama has decided that he will move forward with it anyway. President Obama, an ex constitutional law professor, whose favorite word is audacity, is prepared to violate the principles of Constitutional Law that he taught."

Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Arizona

It is no coincidence that this sweeping policy change which was announced less than five months before a presidential election. Most importantly, this unilateral act is a preemptive strike against the United States Supreme Court in it's decision on senate bill 1070 which may come as early as this Monday. It doesn't take a cynic to recognize this action for what it is: blatant political pandering by a president desperate to shore up his political base. As I've said many times our nation's immigration system is as broken as our border. But now is not the time to grant broad amnesty to nearly one million people and now is not the time to approve something via executive fiat which that president knows he could never get through Congress.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez, D-Texas

“I commend President Obama for taking action to avoid further injustices against young people who have so much to contribute to our country. The president’s actions were necessary due to the grid lock which has sadly become a normal condition for Congress. A legislative remedy is still needed. President Obama’s decision should serve as a call to action for the Congress to meet its responsibilities.”

Rep. Peter King, R-New York

“The Administration is overstepping its authority by weakening immigration laws without Congressional approval. I am very concerned about efforts to administratively implement amnesty for countless illegal aliens under the age of 30. It is vital that US borders are secure prior to any consideration of amnesty proposals."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York

"In one fell swoop the President has accomplished what far too few Republicans were brave enough to even discuss. The President has done all he can and it is now up to our colleagues across the aisle to join us in finishing the job and passing the full and undiluted DREAM Act."

Rep. Allen West, R-Florida

"This is yet another example of executive branch overreach. We have a legislative process that ensures representative governance by the consent of the American people. This action should be crafted into legislation, debated in committee and brought before the House and Senate for vote, with accordance of our Constitutional Republic way. Secretary Napolitano is an unelected administrative bureaucrat who does not have the right to make governing decisions for this country. It is apparent that the goal of the Obama administration is not to govern, but rule by edict. This again is a reflection of the desperation of President Obama and his liberal progressive disciples as November draws nearer. I find it ironic that Secretary Napolitano would not assist our State of Florida with ensuring the integrity of the voting process but she can make a unilateral decision about who can reside in America."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois

“The Obama Administration’s decision to extend temporary legal status to DREAM Act students is an historic humanitarian moment. This action will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they’ve ever called home. These young people did not make the decision to come to this country, and it is not the American way to punish children for their parents’ actions. I commend President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano for their courage and leadership. I also want to thank Senator Dick Lugar for having the courage to confront Tea Party orthodoxy and join me on a bipartisan basis to request this change in policy”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina

“Mr. President, I don’t think this is a wise way to fix a broken immigration system. This decision avoids dealing with Congress and the American people instead of fixing a broken immigration system once and for all. This is a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership.”

Sen. Lamar Smith, R-Texas

“President Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is a breach of faith with the American people. It also blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy. This huge policy shift has horrible consequences for unemployed Americans looking for jobs and violates President Obama’s oath to uphold the laws of this land."

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey

“For all the young people who call this country their home but have been unable to fulfill their dreams, I am profoundly grateful to the President and the Administration for suspending the deportation of Dreamers. For these young men and women who want to become doctors, teachers, police officers and soldiers, this announcement will change their lives forever.”

Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I welcome the announcement by President Obama today. . . This important action will provide protection from removal and work authorization for a vulnerable group of immigrants who deserve to remain in our country and contribute their talents to our communities. These youth are bright, energetic, and eager to pursue their education and reach their full potential. They did not enter our nation on their own volition, but rather came to the United States with their parents as children, something all of us would do. We call upon the President also to review Administration deportation policies and more aggressively pursue the policy of prosecutorial discretion for other populations, a policy which was announced last year. Families continue to be deported and separated, causing undue suffering. The action by the President today is no substitute for enactment of the DREAM Act in Congress.

Frank Jannuzi, the head of Amnesty International’s Washington office

“Amnesty International welcomes President Obama’s steps to relieve the plight of undocumented children and their uncertain futures, but it is a temporary measure. Immigrant children and their families, and the country as a whole, deserve a permanent solution, not tomorrow or after the election, but right now. Amnesty International urges Congress to pass the 2011 version of the DREAM Act as well as address other urgent issues facing migrant communities and undocumented individuals.”

Laura Vazquez, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), spokeswoman

“National Council of La Raza believes that this is a legitimate use of the tools that the administration has to focus on their immigration enforcement resources. In light of the congressional inaction on immigration reform, this is the right step for the administration to take at this time.”

Filed under: Immigration • President Obama
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. arale norimaki

    when mitt romney win he is going veto obama Temporary Protected Status

    June 15, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Nuihc

    Congress needs to man up, grow a pair, or whatever is necessary to bring Obama up on charges. Even I know that doing this is illegal, but they are letting him get away with it so far.

    June 15, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. tony

    I like the idea of the work permit – reaps the entrepreneurial and tax benefits for those that want to succeed in the US.

    June 15, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. JM

    This is just wrong. It is not fair. If you are going to do this then you have to give the same benefits to everyone else in the world. Just because people who are in close proximity to the border and capable to jump that border should be given this privilege over people who live on another continent. They should come fairly just like everyone and just like my ancestors did +100 yrs ago. There are more people waiting in line longer because of these cheaters. Look, we all wish a better life for everyone but I don't think its fair.

    June 15, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Linda

    We came over to this country as immigrants and took this land and the resources of this country away from the American Indians, who rightfully belonged here.....these children of illegal immigrants that have been born here or even came over with parents as babies deseve the right to stay here and become American notice all those against this are the republicans in the House and in the Senate......the President had to do it or just sit back while the republicans continue to hold up every thing without getting any legislation passed......all because they want Obama to look like a failure.....the ones holding every bill or legislation up is the GOP in very proud of President Obama for having the courage to do something instead of sitting on his thumbs like the Republicans......

    June 15, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Pat

    My wife is a LEGAL immigrant, and as far as I'm concerned, this is the equivalent of Barack Obama sticking his middle finger in her face, and then spitting in it. I am offended beyond words by this, and I trust that the duly elected representative government we have in this country will step up and stop him. Impeach him, if necessary. He is not allowed to behave like a king and determine the law for himself just to score some extra votes in an election year.

    I'm sorry to all the illegal kids in this country who may be in the situation Obama is looking to resolve for them, here, but do NOT be angry with America because you're illegal. Blame your irresponsible, law-breaking parents for puting you in this situation. No matter who you are or how you came here, you have no right to cut in line ahead of all the good law-abiding people who are following the rules and doing the right thing. You ought to be deported so that you can begin the LEGAL process of coming to this country, if that's what you want, but America is not about rewarding people who spit on our laws. Take it out on your parents for putting you in this situation, but it's wrong to expect America to be sympathetic for them bringing you here illegally.

    June 15, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. JM

    California was not Mexican territory. Majority of the western US was spanish territory. That was either won or bought through spanish american war. Mexico lost that land by the time Spain lost its sovereignty of Mexico. Technically, they never had it to begin with.

    June 15, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. JM

    Stand corrected. mexican american war. And it was bought for $18 million and US forgave mexico's debt.

    June 15, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Nuihc

    This going to cause more animosity toward latinos, whether they are in this country legally or not.

    June 15, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. DJ

    What bothers me the most is that so many families are doubling and tripling into one home, because our own children are having such a hard time finding the jobs needed to have their own homes. And yet we are to appreciate that people who have broken our laws are given free passes to achieve their own dreams? What ever happened to respecting the laws, and the natural born citizens of this country first??

    June 15, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. November 2012 -- IMPEACH OBAMA, the lawless leftist dictator that violates his oath of office EVERY DAY

    So America.... is this the "Hope & Change" you voted for in 2008? Wanton disregard for the laws of this nation.

    So America.... is what you thought "fundamentally change the USA" meant?

    And JUST when you thought the Obama, the Great Divider, couldn't possibly create any more divisions and divisiveness in this country!! All for him to get re-elected because he's failed for 4 years.

    The American people MUST END THIS NIGHTMARE in November before Obama totally destroys this country economically and in every other way.

    June 15, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Getting-Hard-To-Be-A-Democrat

    This is the last straw for this Democrat. I'll be voting in the upcoming election and I'll just have to hold my nose and vote for Romney.

    June 15, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Lisa

    Wow, Be very careful Americans, This predisdent is nothing more that a dictator, I wonder who is really pulling the strings on this. Its also insulting that he would do this just to get votes. We the people will be here for a little while longer cause prob. 4 more years it will not stand for We the people, What next he will overturn the two term presidency like Chavez. Very scarey. I wish he loved his country first, but he wants it to be a third world country.

    June 15, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Chuck

    Illegal is Illegal. Fix the problem!

    June 15, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Gearloose

    This is an obvious election year gambit meant to buy votes.
    It's a disgrace that this makes a mockery of our existing immigration laws.

    June 15, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Yeah. And SECURE the border. And ENFORCE immigration laws. Or don't the last 2 count in your world?
    The borders are more secure than at any other fime in our history, especially the southern border areas. We have nearl the double the number of border agents and enforcement personell along the southern than we had under GWB. We have been turning away people at the borders for the past 2 years in record numbers, part of it is from your Stimulus money at work. All of this adds up to the fact the current laws *are* being enforced, and are being enforced at a higher level than at any other time in history. The numbers speak for themselves. Your rhetoric speaks for itself, but not the facts.

    June 15, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Melvin

    What clear is Democrats for it, Repubs against it, independents either way. Do your thing Mr. President, at the heart of it all and in who it addresses, its the right thing to do!! I applaud you!!!

    June 15, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. felix rivera

    You have to read very carefully what this is about. First of all, it is not amnesty. It is just a part of prosecutorial discretion.
    It just means that they will not deport them for 2 years,and in some cases they might get work authorization.
    Now, in order to get this they have to come in contact with, you guessed it, immigration authorities. What does that mean? If they want this, they will have to present themselves before an ICE officer and tell him he or she wants prosecutorial discretion applied in his or her case.
    Like I said before, this is not amnesty. No one is giving those kids a legal resident card like most immigrants get when they enter the country, much less citizenship. This is going to be done in a case by case basis,so its not for every body, They also have to pass a background check, meaning that if some of those individuals are found to have committed crimes they will be placed in deportation right away. You should read the Janet Napolitano memorandum.
    So, lets make it clear one more time, this is not amnesty .Amnesty means forgive and forget. We are not forgiving, we are not forgetting. Those individuals will have no pathway to citizenship, no legal status whatsoever.
    And the law applies to everybody ,not just a certain ethnic group if you know what I mean.

    June 15, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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