ST. GEORGE – Utah leaders are issuing statements of disapproval regarding President Obama’s executive action announced Thursday on immigration and amnesty.
Gov. Gary Herbert:
I am disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. The American system of government was designed to have laws created by the legislative branch, and those laws faithfully executed by the chief executive. We operate within that system in Utah and expect the same at the federal level. All Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, should be concerned about Pres. Obama’s blatant disregard of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Our broken immigration system compromises our national security and hampers our economy. However, the issue must be addressed by Congress. I am afraid the president’s action tonight will only poison the well and make resolution of the matter more difficult.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, who voted for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill and was the only Republican outside of the Gang of 8 to support the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee, has repeatedly advocated for balanced immigration reform based on areas of widespread agreement, and introduced the bipartisan Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act with Sens. Klobuchar, Rubio, and Coons to reform the visa program for high-skilled workers based on market demand. In a statement released Thursday he said:
President Obama’s Executive Order undermines the rule of law and our Constitution, which obligates him to enforce the laws of the land. In doing so, he has demonstrated that his priorities are polarization and partisanship, not working across the aisle to get things done. The President should heed his own wisdom—that broadening immigration enforcement carve-outs undermines the rule of law and are not an option. The way to get real and lasting immigration reform back on track is not for the President to insist on his my-way-or-the-highway approach, but rather to build trust by working together on areas where we can agree, like fixing high-skilled immigration.”
Sen. Mike Lee:
In a desperate attempt to remain relevant, the President has decided to defy the American people, ignore the election results, and usurp the legislative process. This act demonstrates he respects neither election outcomes, nor the rule of law. It will make the humanitarian crisis at the border worse, and could potentially create a constitutional crisis within our republic. Congress must respond to restore the proper checks and balances to our constitutional order, and it must do so quickly and forcefully. I hope and expect there are a number of Democrats who are tired of being asked to protect the President, often at great political cost. It’s time for them to stand with the American people.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz:
Tonight President Obama sent a message to the world: break our laws and you will be rewarded. This is a dangerous message to be sending. As long as the delays and penalties for navigating the legal process are more painful than the consequences of coming to the United States illegally, we will continue to have a problem regardless of how high or wide our fence is. Our immigration system is broken and in desperate need of reform. It cannot be fixed with a “pen” and a “phone”
There are many common ground reforms that can be agreed upon but are held hostage to the demand of comprehensive legislation. All-inclusive bills are not the answer. We need to stop ignoring simple fixes and work together to find a long-term solution to this broken system.
Rep. Rob Bishop released the following statement in anticipation of Obama’s announcement:
We are supposed to be a nation of laws, but what the President is doing is an abuse of his authority. Like all Americans, I share a sense of compassion and understanding for families caught in these difficult circumstances, but the President’s plan does not fix the problem. He has made it worse. We desperately need a permanent solution, not an imperfect presidential mandate done in isolation. President Obama may think it is acceptable to exceed his own authority through executive action, but our founding fathers established clearly defined powers through the Constitution. The President missed an opportunity to work with Congress and instead has created a toxic atmosphere harming future efforts. Amnesty is not an answer and it sends the wrong message to those who are going through the legitimate immigration process. The first thing to fix is the porous border and that is where our attention should initially be focused.
Rep. Chris Stewart:
A presidential executive order on immigration clearly goes against the powers outlined in the Constitution. As the Constitution states, it’s Congress’ responsibility is “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”. Like most Utahns, I recognize that our immigration system is broken and must be reformed, but the President’s use of executive orders and a call for amnesty isn’t the answer. Not only are his actions unconstitutional, but it goes against the will of the people and of Congress. If the president wants to reform immigration it must happen through the proper channels within Congress.
Updated Nov. 21 to include Hatch’s statements, Nov. 25 to include Stewart’s statements.
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