In the wake of President Barack Obama’s pledge to implement additional executive amnesty measures, illegal alien advocates called on him to give work permits to most illegal aliens while House Republicans said his actions would lead to more illegal immigration.
At an immigration panel today AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said he wants to convince Obama to act broadly to stop deportations. Both Trumka and Janet Murguia, head of the National Council of La Raza, called on the president to give work permits to everyone who would have been legalized under the Senate-passed amnesty bill.
Speaking today on MSNBC Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said he still welcomes congressional action but "(I)n the interim period, I believe the President of the United States has already in statute -- in the law -- the ability to heal and put into safe harbor millions of undocumented immigrants while the Congress of the United States finally decides that it's going to take action.
Gutierrez said the Congressional Hispanic Caucus gave Obama a list of actions he can take on his own that are "within the law." He said the president waived deportation for 600,000 under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program so "Why not their parents?" He also suggested helping illegal-alien parents who have been deported. He said “Why can't he [Obama] put those moms and dads in a safe place so that they can raise their children?
House Republicans responded with a much different take on Obama’s remarks. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, issued a statement that includes the following excerpts:
“When it comes to the crisis on the border, President Obama has no one to blame but himself. He is the one who promised amnesty to illegal immigrant minors already in the U.S. As a result, tens of thousands of illegal immigrant minors are now flooding across the border. Why are they coming? Because of the promise of legalization and amnesty that President Obama advocates…It is laughable that President Obama now is trying to point the finger at House Republicans. We’re the ones who have been calling for border security rather than amnesty…As we’ve seen in the past, amnesty only encourages more illegal immigration…The Founders in Constitution gave Congress the right to establish immigration laws – not the President. His job is to enforce the laws enacted by Congress…If the President insists on enacting amnesty by executive order, he will undoubtedly face a lawsuit and will find himself, once again, on the wrong side of the Constitution and the law.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released a statement that, in part, said:
“[President Obama] created the crisis at the border…by stating that minors and families are not a priority for removal and he has distorted the rule of law so much that, as he indicates, ‘folks don’t know what the rules are.’ President Obama could quell the border crisis by halting his abuses of prosecutorial discretion, actually enforcing our immigration laws within the interior of the United States, and starting to crack down on fraudulent asylum claims…But instead, he is sending lawyers, judges, and asylum officers to the border, which will only fast-track the likelihood that these minors and families will pursue asylum cases that the administration rubberstamps…[He] plans to send interior immigration enforcement officers to the border, which means that individuals who simply make it past the border patrol could get more than just a free pass into the U.S. – they could get to stay once they reach the interior of the U.S.
“I’m shocked that President Obama is calling for more unilateral actions but I am even more shocked by what he didn’t say today. He said nothing about cracking down on fraudulent asylum claims nor did he say he would remove those seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. By threatening more unilateral actions this summer while failing to address the issue of border security, President Obama will only worsen the crisis at the border and will further undermine Americans’ faith in the President’s ability to lead.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee's Ranking Member, said in a statement “There’s already a great deal of concern about the President’s executive orders. The crisis at the border is at least partially due to the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement and the President’s own policies. Just because the legislative branch may not act on immigration reform this year doesn’t mean the President can do an end around Congress and act unilaterally by signing executive orders that do nothing to fix the underlying problem. As most constitutional scholars know, that’s not how our system of government works.”
Responding to comments from Republicans and illegal-alien advocates White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri said, “Political reaction from Republicans is not part of our calculation on what administrative actions we’re going to pursue. We’ll go as far as we think is good policy and is permitted under the law.”