Miss. GOP against president’s immigration order
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Republicans in Congress say President Barack Obama is overstepping his authority and ignoring the wishes of voters by issuing an executive order protecting millions of immigrants from deportation.
“I am firmly opposed to the president’s plan to take unilateral action on immigration,” said GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo in a statement after Obama’s Thursday speech.
“While the president grants amnesty to countless illegal immigrants, millions of American citizens are still struggling to find work. It’s time for the president to stop playing politics and instead put the American people first. I will do everything within my power to prevent this unconstitutional and unwelcomed action,” Palazzo said.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the lone Democrat in Mississippi’s congressional delegation, applauded Obama’s effort, calling it a “bold step” to begin changing “the broken immigration system.” Thompson, however, says the plan should have included farm workers.
“This action, similar to those taken by previous presidents, is simply the right thing to do in the wake of inaction by Congress,” said Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.
The executive actions, which Obama laid out in a prime-time television address Thursday, are designed to make nearly 5 million immigrants illegally in the United States eligible for protection from deportation and for work permits. It would mainly cover parents of U.S. citizens and of legal residents as long as the parents have been in the U.S. for five years or more.
GOP Sen. Thad Cochran said there is “no justifiable reason for President Obama to act alone now to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.”
“The same pressures to secure our borders and reform our legal immigration system will exist in January when the new Congress convenes. By circumventing the legislative process now, I believe the president is making it much harder to address those problems,” Cochran said.
Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, recently elected to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that beginning next year, “The new Republican Congress will look to use the power of the purse and the judicial system to rein in this executive overreach. No president has the authority to act unilaterally in this manner, something that the courts will surely determine.”
“Our country has a broken immigration system that needs a real solution, not a quick fix,” GOP Rep. Gregg Harper said. “The president’s unilateral action on immigration is not an effective, long-term solution to our broken system, and it will set back the American peoples’ goal to move forward with effective and accountable solutions.”
Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, called Obama’s plan a “long time coming.”
“We’re glad that he’s finally taking this administrative action,” Chandler told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1yykIGN ). “We believe that this is a critical part of addressing the trauma in immigrant communities, especially given the makeup and mood of Congress.”