Reactions to Obama Administration’s Announcement on Immigration Divided on Partisan Lines

Jun 15, 2012
12:25 PM

And here we go. This morning's statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that will put a halt to the deportation of young undocumented immigrants who entered this country with their parents if they meet certain requirements has already gotten the reactions that we would expect: those who support real comprehensive reform (and are mostly Democrats) praised the Obama administration's bold move, while those who support a strict enforcement policy dashed with a bit of neo-nativist extremism (and are mostly Republican) were quick to criticize, even sounding ignorant.

Case in point, Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was sued by the Department of Justice, kept true to his "politically motivated" angle, and quite frankly, really has no clue when he said the following: "I think people from Mexico are now going to feel, 'Hey come on in and we'll get by with it.' But it won't happen in this county. They will still be arrested." Granted, Arpaio is missing the point: the Department of Homeland Security is acknowledging the fact that certain young people between 16 and 30 who entered this country with their parents when they were young, grew up in this country as Americans, went to school or fought in the military for this country, and actually feel more American than most, are finally getting recognition of their unique situation. This has nothing to do with Mexico or border crossings, but you know Arpaio: once a nativist, always a nativist.

Then there is Florida Congressman and Tea Party favorite Allan West, who said the following, as reported by CNN:

"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. This again is a reflection of the desperation of President Obama and his liberal progressive disciples as November draws nearer. I find it ironic that Secretary Napolitano would not assist our State of Florida with ensuring the integrity of the voting process but she can make a unilateral decision about who can reside in America."

Next up, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R): “Mr. President, I don’t think this is a wise way to fix a broken immigration system. This decision avoids dealing with Congress and the American people instead of fixing a broken immigration system once and for all. This is a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership.”

Texas Senator Lamar Smith (R): “President Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is a breach of faith with the American people. It also blatantly ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy. 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."

New Jersey Senator Robert Menéndez (D): “For all the young people who call this country their home but have been unable to fulfill their dreams, I am profoundly grateful to the President and the Administration for suspending the deportation of Dreamers. For these young men and women who want to become doctors, teachers, police officers and soldiers, this announcement will change their lives forever.”

You can read more reactions here.