Obama issues order on immigration, draws wrath of GOP

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President Barack Obama announced his long-expected decision Thursday night to sign executive orders that will shield from deportation as many as five million undocumented immigrants now residing in the U.S.

“To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: pass a bill,” Obama said in a televised speech.

“I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution,” Obama said. “And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.”

The president’s action, which he had been indicating for months he would do, stirred up angry reactions among Republicans in Congress who may retaliate against the executive orders by shutting down the federal government or voting to impeach Obama.

“The majority of the people’s House will fight this because it is wrong,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).  “It is political retribution under the false guise of compassion, and it is yet another abuse of power the branch of government closest to the people will have to resolve.”

“President Obama’s proposed executive action on amnesty is an outrageous abuse of power,” said David Perdue, the state’s newly elected senator.

“The President purposely delayed this unilateral action until after election day for political purposes,” Perdue charged. “As part of the new Senate majority, I will fight to hold the Obama Administration accountable when they overstep their authority and work through Congress to fix our broken immigration system.”

“President Obama once again proved that he’s more concerned with advancing his own personal agenda than the will of the American people,” state Republican Party Chairman John Padgett said. “Americans deserve a robust debate on immigration reform, not a swift edict from an ultra-partisan, power-hungry president.”

Obama plans to expand a current federal program that defers the deportation of young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.

That initiative had applied to people born after 1981 who came to the country before June 15, 2007, but Obama will extend it to remove the age limitation and shift the cutoff date to January 1, 2010.  The expanded program will apply to about 270,000 people.

Obama also will implement a new “deferred action” program that would allow the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to live and work in the U.S. temporarily if they have resided in this country at least five years and can show that their child was born before the date of the president’s announcement. This would apply to more than four million people.

“What I’m describing is accountability – a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law,” Obama said. “If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.”

Obama’s announcement was supported by his Democratic Party colleagues.

“Faced with this humanitarian crisis and legislative impasse, any leader who has the power and the tools to help abate this emergency has a moral obligation to act,” said Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta.

“This executive order affects not only Latino immigrants from Central and South America, but also European, Caribbean, Asian and African immigrants whose trials are not as widely covered, but are just as damaging,” Lewis said.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, our aspiring citizens — individuals who already contribute significantly to Atlanta by opening businesses, being customers in local stores, and paying taxes — will finally be able to come forward without the fear of deportation and be afforded the opportunity to achieve the American dream,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.

“As a city and a nation, we are stronger when we embrace and support the diversity and vitality of immigrant populations,” Reed said.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Barack Obama , David Perdue , deportation , Doug Collins , executive orders , immigration , John Lewis , Kasim Reed