Texas Responds to Obama's Immigration Order

Dems applaud, while GOP bemoans death of the Republic

President Obama: Throwing down the immigration gauntlet to Congress.
President Obama: Throwing down the immigration gauntlet to Congress. (Photo by John Anderson)

President Barack Obama has been called the deporter-in-chief, with more undocumented foreign migrants formally removed than under his predecessor, President George W. Bush. But with today's executive order on immigration, his reputation may change.

The order is not a full-fledged amnesty, but a reprioritizion of the work load for already over-stretched agencies like the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice. This includes extra emphasis on securing the border and stopping people crossing the border in the first place. After that comes the mantra of "felons, not families": That law enforcement should focus on criminal and terrorists. After that, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for five years or more, and are parents of US citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, if they pass criminal and national security background checks, will be given up to three years to stay in the US while they clear up their immigration status.

This puts Obama in a long line of presidents to use executive orders relating to immigration (including the last three Republican presidents). In a statement, he said:

These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

He also immediately put the onus back on Capitol Hill, framing this as simply a temporary measure:

These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

So now comes the deluge of responses, starting with Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie. He applauded the order, and backed Obama's challenge to Congress:

"It is my hope that this announcement will finally spur Congress into action and they will pass comprehensive immigration reform. Such legislation will not only benefit immigrants, but our local, state and national economy. Additionally, millions will finally be able to come out of the shadows."

Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, gave her vote of support a seasonal twist:

"As we approach the Thanksgiving holidays, I am thankful that President Obama has taken action that will allow millions across our country to celebrate with their families and loved ones without fear of deportation. While this historic order is a step in the right direction, we must continue to fight for meaningful comprehensive immigration reform that provides lasting relief to all of the family members and friends stuck in limbo due to a broken immigration system and Washington gridlock.

Of course, the right is much less enthusiastic, with the GOP's favorite prop comic Sen. Ted Cruz following up his Winston Churchill impression with a statement reframing Cicero's speech to the Roman Senate:

“What? shall we, who are the Senate, tolerate President Obama, openly desirous to destroy the Constitution and this Republic? For I pass over older instances, such as how the IRS plotted to silence American citizens. There was—there was once such virtue in this republic, that brave men and women would repress mischievous citizens with severer chastisement than the most bitter enemy. For we have a resolution of the senate, a formidable and authoritative decree against you, President Obama; the wisdom of the republic is not at fault, nor the dignity of this senatorial body. We, we alone – I say it openly – we, the Senates, are waiting in our duty to stop this lawless Administration and its Amnesty.”

However, Cruz was quickly outdone on the hyperbole by State Senator Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who bemoaned the death of the Republic.

Tonight, law abiding citizens will be relegated to a 2nd class status with a mere stroke of the pen. President Obama is willing to violate the very fabric of our constitutional law in order to give legal status to citizens of other countries who have have willingly and deliberately violated the laws of this nation.

Even before the order was issued, the GOP response machine was in full effect, with Gov. Rick Perry threatening that Texas will sue the Obama administration (even though no one knew then what the order would contain). Expect the flood to continue from all parties and groups in the morning.

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Immigration, Barack Obama, Ted Cruz, Charles Perry, Sylvia Garcia, Chris Turner

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