Local Lawmakers Oppose Obama's Immigration Action
Posted on November 23, 2014 10:12 am CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Local members of Congress released statements agreeing on a similar idea: executive action is not the way to implement immigration reform.
On Thursday, President Obama announced actions he is taking to grant a reprieve from deportation to about 5 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally and allow them to apply for a three-year work permit if they can pass a background check, register with the government, submit biometric data, and establish they are eligible for relief.
Obama says he is not signing executive orders to carry out his plans, but will issue several presidential memoranda that establish new procedures and guidelines for the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Labor.
Congress members who represent the Ozarks say more time is needed to come to a bipartisan decision on immigration reform, not the quick action of an executive order.
“Our immigration system is broken, and I support a comprehensive plan to fix it, but executive orders aren’t the way to do it,” says U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. “The system can only be truly fixed through legislation by Congress. The Senate’s comprehensive plan got overwhelming bipartisan approval, and Republicans in the U.S. House have sat on their hands for a year-and-a-half, refusing to even consider that bill. They should quit stalling, get to work, and do their jobs—debate the comprehensive plan that passed the Senate with a two-thirds margin.”
Other Congress members say Obama’s actions may add to the issue of immigration reform.
“On more than 20 occasions, President Obama said he does not have the authority to take the executive action that he announced tonight,” says Senator Roy Blunt. “The president still does not possess that authority today.”
“Missourians don’t want executive amnesty - they want President Obama to focus on growing jobs and to listen to their concerns. The president cannot ignore the law, and Congress will act in response to the president's executive over-reach,” adds Blunt.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) says, “I am disappointed that President Obama has chosen to bypass Congress in his rush to implement immigration reform. Our Constitution requires that Congress write the laws and the President execute those laws. Americans are divided on how to address immigration reform. President Obama’s action can only harm efforts to bring Americans together to reach consensus on this important matter.”
Representing Missouri in the House, Rep. Billy Long says Thursday’s immigration announcement shows Obama has given up on the legislative process.
“It is unconscionable President Obama took this divisive and unilateral action on immigration,” he says. “President Obama refused to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and now he thinks it is okay to give those who came to our country illegally a pass. We have a process in place for those who want to immigrate to our country. The process needs to be reformed, but, the Executive Branch does not get to unilaterally make this decision. The president has shown by his actions today he has given up on the legislative process and that is a shame. We have three separate but equal branches of government. The former constitutional law professor would be wise to remember that.”
“The people I represent want to see the border secured and our nation’s current immigration laws enforced,” Long continues. “Border enforcement should be and must be the first concrete step our nation takes when it comes to immigration reform. Any reform effort without border security first will not fix the problem.”
Obama says he will sign the memoranda in a trip Friday to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, where he will promote the plan in a state that has a growing Latino population.