See bottom for Romney's response.
Unless you've been living under a rock today, I'm pretty sure you've heard about the Obama administration's decision to end deportations of illegal immigrants under 30 years old and provide them with two year renewable work visas (amnesty by any other name)--adding a possible 800,000 to the number of people to the work force. Despite the fact that he said in September of last year that he lacked the authority to do so unilaterally, he went ahead with this.
So, let's see how people on the right are reacting.
First of all, Mark Krikorian at the National Review has an excellent--and short!--breakdown of things:
The White House decision to enact the DREAM Act through executive fiat is a lawless act. This isn’t even about immigration; it’s about the Constitution...For all the administration’s pious denials that this measure “confers no substantive right” and “only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights”, they’re lying. The illegal immigrants in question will receive two-year renewable permits to live legally in the United States and an Employment Authorization Document — that, in plain terms, is what we call “amnesty”.
But let's move on to Senators and Congressmen. Jump with me below the fold for me.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has promised to sue the administration over this. From the Daily Caller:
“I will tell you that — I’m not without experience on this — I’m prepared to bring a suit and seek a court order to stop implementation of this policy,” King said
“I have done it once in the past successfully when then-Governor Tom Vilsack thought he could legislate by executive order — and the case of King vs. Vilsack is in the books. And that individual, by the way, is now the Secretary of Agriculture. I wonder if he’s not counseling the president on his legal proceedings.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), meanwhile, plans to start a probe over the decision. Again, from the Daily Caller:
“The Administration is overstepping its authority by weakening immigration laws without Congressional approval,” King said in an email. “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.”
“To that end, I am further opposed to an internal CBP memo deliberating an arbitrary change to enforcement policies, which will jeopardize border security,” King continued. “I have raised concerns for the past several years about the Administration’s efforts to scale back immigration enforcement. This latest move is even more serious because it signifies to potential illegal aliens that border agents will turn a blind eye. My Committee will be launching an immediate review into the possibility that DHS will direct Border Patrol agents to conduct selective enforcement. Border security is vital to national security, and it is concerning that the Administration is considering scaling back our efforts to secure the border.”
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) says this, from his Facebook page:
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.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is pushing his own version of the DREAM Act in the Senate, was also critical, though his disagreement is largely over method, and not policy. Via the LA Times:
“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,” the Florida senator said. “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,” he added. “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.”
Also from the LA Times, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), had this to say:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican known for calling for tougher immigration laws, immediately denounced the administration’s decision as “amnesty.”
“It also blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy,” Smith said in a statement. “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. Chuck Grassley had this to say:
“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...On top of providing amnesty to those under 30 years old, the administration now will be granting work authorizations to illegal immigrants at the same time young Americans face record-high unemployment rates. Americans also deserve to know how this amnesty program for hundreds of thousands of people will be funded, and whether resources for border security and enforcement will be diverted. Congress has the authority to write immigration laws, and with this order the President is disregarding the voice of the people through their elected representatives in Congress.”
This move by the Obama administration is so bad even two of the Republican Party's biggest amnesty pushers have jumped in to slam it. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says via his own press release:
“Immigration reform is an important and complex issue that deserves a debate among the American people and in Congress. Today’s announcement by President Obama is a politically-motivated power grab that does nothing to further the debate but instead adds additional confusion and uncertainty to our broken immigration system. Further, I find it interesting that after promising to enact comprehensive reform in the first year of his Presidency, the President chose to make this announcement in the middle of his heated re-election campaign. Rather than unilaterally deciding for the American people what they want and how they believe this problem should be addressed, I encourage the President and his Administration to finally reach out to Congress and propose legislation on this important issue.”
And Lindsey Graham has weighed in on Twitter. The Daily Caller lists his tweets:
“Mr. President, I don’t think this is a wise way to fix a broken immigration system...This is a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership...This decision avoids dealing with Congress and the American people instead of fixing a broken immigration system once and for all...President Obama’s attempt to go around Congress and the American people is at best unwise and possibly illegal...This type of policy proposal, regardless of motivation, will entice people to break our laws...President Obama chose politics over leadership. ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ have become bait-and-switch."
But, if I had to choose the single best press release on the subject, I'd give that vote to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. I'm quoting the most important part, but the rest of it deserves a read:
“With its announcement today, the Obama administration has openly declared to the American people that it is determined to contravene the immigration laws of the United States, circumventing the will of the people and authority of its representatives in Congress. In fact, this policy is far broader than the version of the DREAM Act rejected by Congress on a bipartisan basis and contains almost no enforceable limits and requirements.
I have not been able to find a statement yet from Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I hope they will weigh in soon. It would be nice to see Rep. Issa weigh in as well, since he is Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. There are probably more releases out there that I haven't mentioned, but these are the major ones, in my view.
I have to wonder, though, how far will our Senators and Representatives go? Will Steve King be able to pursue his lawsuit? Will Peter King be able to do his probe? I wouldn't put it past our nervous leadership to try to block their attempts. At the very least, there will be some token action. I think we can be certain of that, but I hope it produces something truly substantial. It's amnesty, even if by another name, and it's a heavy-handed, Unconstitutional, illegal overreach on the part of the President. Let's hope he gets properly called out on it and suffers the consequences.
UPDATE: Here's Mitt Romney's response:
"I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country," Romney said.
He continued: "I think the actions that the president took today make it more difficult to reach that kind of long term solution because an executive order, of course, is a short-term matter that can be reversed by subsequent presidents."
"I'd like to see legislation that deals with this issue," Romney said. "And I happen to agree with Marco Rubio, as he said this is an important matter, we have to find a long-term solution."
This might be the most important part, though, as it's what he didn't say:
He did not respond to questions shouted to him by the press corps about whether he would reverse Obama's decision.
Notice that this sounds a lot like Marco Rubio's response. That could be important to note in the coming month or two.